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Making a Splash – significant changes for swimming pool and spa owners

About a year ago you might remember hearing that changes to swimming pool legislation were due to come into force in respect of swimming pool compliance. For a number of reasons this legislation was deferred for a year, however, it is now due to come into force on 29 April 2016.

What does this mean for home owners and lessors?

In short, all properties on which there is a swimming pool or a spa will need to hold a certificate of compliance or a relevant occupation certificate prior to being sold or leased. When selling a property with a pool or a spa, additional documents will be required to be attached to the Contract for Sale after 29 April 2016. These documents include:

  • A valid certificate of compliance issued under the Swimming Pools Act 1992; or
  • A relevant occupation certificate and evidence that the pool is registered under the Swimming Pools Act 1992; or
  • A valid certificate of non-compliance issued under the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008.

The provisions do not apply for a property situated in a strata plan or in a community scheme provided there are more than 2 lots or for off the plan properties (as defined by the applicable Act).

If leasing a property with a swimming pool, then as the landlord of that property you need to ensure that the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 have been complied withBefore entering into the Residential Tenancy Agreement, the landlord must ensure that:

  • The swimming pool is registered under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and hold a valid certificate of compliance under the Actor
  • Hold a relevant occupation certificate within the meaning of the Act; and
  • Provide a copy of either of the above to the tenant.

As is the case when selling a property, a unit in a strata scheme or community scheme on which a pool is located if comprised of more than 2 lots need not comply with the above.

How do you obtain a certificate of compliance?

Firstly, given that this legislation is due to come into force in just under a month, we suggest that you allow sufficient time to obtain the certificates. Most Councils report that it can take up to 90 days for a pool to become compliant and anecdotal evidence suggests that a large proportion of pools fail to meet compliance requirements first time around. If you have a property you want to sell or lease then you need to factor this into your timing. Also, we would expect that there will be a demand on approved certifiers in the lead up to and introduction of the legislation.

Secondly, an approved person must inspect the property before a certificate of compliance can be issued. This includes persons from your local Council or an independent accredited certifier who is registered with the Building Professionals Board. A good spot to start for further information is heading over to the Swimming Pool Register website which also contains a list of private certifiers: http://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/.