Landlord’s representative convicted of overcharging subdivided unit tenants for water

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23rd November 2022 – (Hong Kong) A landlord’s representative who manages the premises and collects rent and water charges was convicted today of overcharging a subdivided unit (SDU) tenant of the premises for water, in contravention of regulation 47 of the Waterworks Regulations (WWR). He pleaded guilty at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts and was fined $1,000. This is the second conviction case of overcharging since the amended WWR came into force in May 2021. The first conviction was recorded on 1st June, 2022.
      
The Water Supplies Department (WSD) received a complaint in late April 2022 concerning overcharging SDU tenants for water at a flat on Yin Hing Street, San Po Kong, Kowloon. Upon completion of the investigation and evidence collection, prosecution was initiated against the person who contravened the relevant regulation. 
      
According to the amended regulation 47 of the WWR, the registered consumer of the water account (usually the landlord) is only allowed to recover from the occupants of the premises (usually the tenants) the water charge paid to the WSD. If the amount recovered exceeds the water charge paid to the WSD, the registered consumer shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a maximum fine of $10,000. 
      
A WSD spokesman said that the Government is committed to combating the illegal acts through an inter-departmental and multi-pronged approach. In addition to stepping up inter-departmental joint inspections and improving the application procedures for the installation of separate water meters, publicity and education efforts have also been strengthened, with a view to enhancing the deterrent effect in preventing SDU tenants from being overcharged for water by the landlord. 
      
 The spokesman said that the WSD has launched a pilot scheme and streamlined procedures to help the landlords install separate water meters for SDUs. While applications for installing separate water meters in SDUs are to be submitted by the landlords, the SDU tenants can also make a request directly to the WSD. The department will then approach the landlords concerned for follow-up action and provide appropriate technical support. Details of the scheme can be obtained from the WSD’s website.

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