Template: ask your landlord to refund fixed water charges

If your landlord has been ripping you off with unlawful water charges, here's a template you can use to ask for the money to be refunded.

Tyrone-Jay Barugh

2/15/20241 min read

If you rent, your landlord may ask you to pay water charges. This is only legal if:

  1. there are actually water charges for the property (in some regions, water is included in the property rates); and

  2. your usage is separately metered (i.e. if you share a meter with your landlord or with other tenants, then you cannot be billed for any usage at all); and

  3. the landlord ONLY charges you for the variable usage component, and not for any fixed charges.

If your landlord has been a bit cheeky and charged you for water rates you aren't liable to pay, here's a template you can try to get the money back:

Kia ora [Landlord],

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing regarding the water charges that have been billed to me for the property located at [Property Address].

Upon reviewing the law regarding tenant responsibilities for water charges and the advice published by Tenancy Services (https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/rent-bond-and-bills/water-and-wastewater-charges/), I have come to understand that tenants are only liable for water charges if certain conditions are met. Specifically:

  1. There must be water charges directly attributable to the property.

  2. The tenant's water usage must be separately metered, ensuring that charges can be accurately attributed to their individual usage.

  3. Landlords are permitted to recover only the variable component of water charges related to actual usage, excluding any fixed charges.

Unfortunately, it appears that you have required me to pay [$ TOTAL AMOUNT] in excess of what I am required to pay. This is broken down as follows:

  • list each individual water invoice or charge.

These charges are unlawful because [select one or more reason: you have