What bills do you pay when renting in Australia?

WeMoney

Although the costs of renting in Australia may seem straightforward, the actual costs within the rental agreement will likely include paying bills for water, electricity, gas, or oil and utility charges.

However, why are these bills important, and how much will the rental provider charge you for them?

Continue reading to learn the bills you need to pay at a rental property (electricity and gas, for example) if the weekly rent (or monthly rent) can include the bills, and more.

What Bills Are There When You rent in Australia?

If you are sticking to a small budget when you rent property (due to other steep costs like moving costs and connection fees), you will likely have to pay bills alongside the costs of renting.

Here are some bills you can expect to pay for rented premises.

Water and sewerage bills are necessary if the property has a water meter (and water tanks) and if the property has a septic tank that needs emptying regularly. The landlord is responsible for deciding if they will pay for sewerage or if it is the renter’s responsibility. However, the tenants pay sewerage infrastructure charges.

The tenant must pay for water supplied to the rental property (in accordance with the water corporation). The final amount of water billing will depend on water usage charges. If you want to reduce your water charging, you can use water efficiency measures to find ways to conserve or use water more efficiently.

Electricity, gas, and oil charges are necessary for installation and usage; if you use too much of any of them in a month, you will be subject to excessive usage charges. 

If you want a lower electricity bill (or energy bill), ensure your electricity efficiency standards are high by turning lights and appliances off when you don’t need to use them. 

To help you understand the costs of electricity, gas, or oil, use a smart meter to show you your potential costs and charges. You could also buy a replacement appliance to reduce costs (a smoke alarm, for example).

If you use bottled gas or oil, you need to pay for hiring them (and a supply charge).

Extra utility bills are typical for utilities (from utility companies) that do not meet the correct efficiency standards. These utility charges can include situations where you must pay for utilities that need a replacement (and general repairs and maintenance).

What Do Tenants Pay for When Renting?

When a renter pays for utilities (when a renter pays for water, for example), they must also keep in mind the other charges agreed in their rental application.

Here are some of the other charges you can expect to pay when you rent in Australia (upfront costs of renting, for example):

  • A security deposit, which the renter must pay at the start of the tenancy, is in place so the landlord has money to pay for damages you may cause (you can make this deposit with a rental bond if you wish).
  • The rental rate that tenants must pay each month. Before starting a residential tenancy, you must determine what you can afford. You also need to watch the economic climate to predict when rent increases (or if there will be a rent reduction). You can also pay some rent in advance if you can afford it (a week's rent in advance, for example).
  • A holding deposit is an upfront cost that secures the property for you; this is useful if others are interested in the property's tenancy agreements.

Does Rent Include Bills in Australia?

Most properties in Australia do not have bills included. However, if a rental property is not separately metered, it may include bills (you need to check the rental agreement to see what it contains).

If the property has bills included, you can expect the monthly charge to include electricity, gas, oil and water charges, council rates, taxes, and repair maintenance charges for utilities (does not include charges for urgent repairs).

Is it Better to Rent With Bills Included?

If you are efficient with gas, water and electricity, you may not need to find a property with bills included. However, having a property with bills included can offer several benefits; here are some of the most significant ones:

  • It can improve your credit score on your annual reports by creditors.
  • Because you only pay a set amount every month (a set consumption charge, for example), it can help you create a budget.
  • Because there is only one payment every month, there is less likelihood that you will encounter a late payment penalty.

In summary

When paying an electricity or gas bill, you can keep the usage charge low by only using gas when necessary and turning the lights and appliances off when you do not need them.

Tenants must pay more if they use too much energy (they may be subject to extra charges). If you need help keeping your energy bills low, you can consult with Consumer Affairs (Consumer Affairs Victoria, for example); they can provide information on rental laws (The Civil and Administrative Tribunal can resolve legal disputes), initial connection costs, contents insurance, a tenants union and more.

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Disclaimer: The author is not a financial advisor and the information provided is general in nature and was prepared for information purposes only. This article should not be considered to constitute financial advice. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on this article as the basis for making an investment, financial or other decision. This information does not take into account your investment objectives, particular needs, or financial situation.

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