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Benchmark - Real Estate Cases & Commentary
Tenancy matters
    •  Utilities
        -  Gas usage
            >  Liability of tenant at end of tenancy

Liability of tenant at end of tenancy 

At the end of a tenancy, the landlord applied to the CTTT for the rental bond, claiming that the tenant had not paid various gas bills that were in the landlord’s name.

Section 19 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (NSW) provides that it is a term of every residential tenancy agreement that the landlord will pay all rates, taxes or charges in connection with the residential premises (other than charges for electricity, gas, excess water and certain other prescribed charges). However, the CTTT pointed out that this does not automatically mean that the tenant is liable for the other charges specified in the parentheses above. It is a matter for the parties to negotiate for their specific lease. In this case, the usual situation applied; that is, the tenant was liable for the gas charges.

The CTTT held that the landlord bore the onus of proving that the tenant had used the gas for which he was charged. The tenant claimed that the equipment on the premises was faulty, leading to gas leakage.

The CTTT held that the accounts sent by the gas company were prima facie evidence of the usage of the stated amount of gas by the tenant. The tenant was unable to give any evidence that would dissuade the CTTT from being satisfied that the accounts were accurate.

The CTTT therefore ordered the tenant to pay for the billed amount of gas. However, the CTTT ordered that only half the amount come out of the bond,

Terrigal Grosvenor Lodge Pty Limited v Gray [2010] NSWCTTT 385