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First conviction for overcharging subdivided unit tenants for water
     A landlord was convicted for overcharging his subdivided unit tenants for water, in contravention of regulation 47 of the Waterworks Regulations (WWR). He pleaded guilty at Kowloon City Magistrates' Courts today (June 1) and was fined $5,000. This is the first conviction case of contravening the regulation since the WWR was amended in May 2021.

     The Water Supplies Department (WSD) received a complaint in late December 2021 concerning overcharging subdivided unit tenants for water in a flat on Fuk Wa Street, Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon. The WSD, upon investigation and evidence collection at the scene, prosecuted the person suspected to have contravened the relevant regulation.

     The Waterworks (Waterworks Regulations) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 was enacted on May 14, 2021. According to the amended regulation 47 of the WWR, a registered consumer of the WSD (usually the landlord) is only allowed to recover from the occupants of the premises (usually the tenants) the water charge paid to the department. 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 spokesman for the WSD stressed that contravening the above regulation is a criminal offence. The department hopes to highlight the strong message of the case to landlords of subdivided units that they must comply with the relevant legislation. Meanwhile, persons who are being overcharged for water are reminded to exercise their legal rights to come forward to report suspected cases.

     In case of any suspicion regarding overcharging for water, members of the public should report the cases to the WSD as soon as possible. An option for reporting water overcharging for subdivided units is available under the WSD's Customer Services Hotline on 2824 5000. After calling the hotline and choosing a language, the public can press "7" for reporting to staff direct.
Ends/Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:00
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