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In January 2012, the Minister approved the Ministerial Guidelines for Community Housing Water Charging. The Guidelines set out the high level policy advice to community housing providers.

The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 was subject to a minor amendment in July 2012. Prior to the amendment, providers could charge for water usage under the Community Housing Ministerial Guidelines in accordance with s139, or under s39 of the Act (the general water charging provisions applying to all tenancies).

Following the change to the Act providers can now only charge in accordance with the Ministerial Guidelines. The Ministerial Guidelines have been revised accordingly. There has also been some change to Section 9 of the Guidelines to better clarify the role of the Housing Appeals Committee in hearing appeals relating to water charging.

Note that levying water charges is not compulsory; community housing providers can choose whether or not to charge for water usage based on their operational needs.

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