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Tenants' taps to trickle

Tuesday, 16th February, 2010

At least eight tenants, including pensioners, could have their water supply restricted to a trickle because their landlord has refused to pay his bill. Country Water has sent notices to the tenants informing them that it intends to reduce supply to their land on or after March 22. It's understood all of the tenants who have received the notices rent their house or unit from the same owner. One of the tenants, an elderly pensioner, told the BDT that he knew of at least seven other people who had also received notices, but the number could be much higher. "A lot of us are pensioners. We're all definitely worried about it," he said.

In the notice Country Water says supply will be reduced to "no less than one litre every two-and-half minutes". It goes on to tell occupants to "not use any appliance that may be affected by the restriction of supply, including evaporative air conditioners".

The tenant, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the first he knew about the non-payment was when he received the notice from Country Water last week. "I don't owe anyone anything and I don't want to," said the man, whose rent is deducted from his fortnightly Centrelink payment.

He said he had tried to contact the owner's property manager without success. But the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal told him that the matter had been brought to its attention and a lawyer had been engaged. The man said if supply was restricted he would have to consider moving. "We'd never be able to handle that," he said. "You couldn't do it. It's a worry I can tell you."

A spokesman for Country Water said that every effort had been made to try and recoup payment from the owner without success, and restriction of supply was the last resort."Every endeavor has been taken to resolve the issue of non payment of water charges," said Travis Nadge, general manager water, who added residents are never left without any water. "We don't cut water off."

Mr Nadge said that any tenant who received a notice should contact Country Water which would "discuss their individual case".

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