Changed Swimming Pool Laws - Be Pool Safe
SALE AND LEASE OF PROPERTIES WITH A SWIMMING POOL
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in very young children in NSW. With over 300,000 backyard swimming pools in NSW, swimming pool safety is a serious issue that affects the whole community. The most effective home pool safety measure is proper adult supervision at all times, but a well-maintained child-resistant pool barrier is also key to preventing small children’s unsupervised access to backyard swimming pools and spa pools.
In NSW, the owners of properties with a swimming pool and/or a spa pool are required to register their pools and spas on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
Local councils are responsible for promoting backyard swimming pool safety in their local communities. They do this through locally appropriate swimming pool inspection programs and community education.
The NSW Government promotes swimming pool safety through the Swimming Pool Register and in partnership with water safety experts, including the Royal Life Saving Society through its ‘Be Pool Safe’ campaign. A number of swimming pool safety resources are available for pool owners and local councils to help to prevent small children from drowning. Many of these can be found below.
LAWS HAVE CHANGED
Sale or lease of properties with a swimming pool
The NSW Government is committed to creating an effective pool barrier framework that protects the safety of children under the age of five around backyard swimming pools.
From 29 April 2016, properties sold with a pool must have one of: a ‘relevant occupation certificate’; a ‘certificate of compliance’; or a ‘certificate of non-compliance’, issued from the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
This means that from 29 April 2016:
- Vendors are now able to transfer the obligation of obtaining a ‘certificate of compliance’ to the purchaser. A ‘certificate of non-compliance’ can now be attached to the contract of sale.
- The buyer of a property with a non-compliant swimming pool has 90 days from the date of settlement to address any issues of pool barrier non-compliance and obtain a certificate of compliance.
- Properties with more than two (2) dwellings are exempt from the requirement to provide a compliant pool barrier on sale or lease, as they are already regulated through mandatory three (3)-yearly council inspections.
The owner of a property with two (2) or fewer dwellings and a pool must have a certificate of compliance before entering into a lease.
A relevant occupation certificate means an occupation certificate issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that is less than 3 years old and that authorises the use of the swimming pool.
Allowing the transfer of obligation for swimming pool barrier compliance provides greater flexibility to the sales process, while ensuring that incidents of non-compliance are addressed. However, this flexibility does not extend to the leasing of properties. Landlords are to ensure that the tenant is provided a copy of a valid ‘certificate of compliance’ at the time the lease is entered into because landlords have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their tenants.
- A certificate of compliance can be obtained from the local council or an independent accredited certifier who is registered with the Building Professionals Board. Contact details for accredited certifiers are available on the Swimming Pool Register website at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
- Allow plenty of time to obtain a certificate of compliance - anecdotal evidence suggests that around 95% of pools fail at the first inspection.
- Many councils have advised that it can take up to 90 days before a pool becomes compliant, mainly due to the availability of qualified contractors to do any required repairs or work.
- You can check if a property with a swimming pool has a current certificate of compliance by accessing the NSW Swimming Pool Register online at www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au and selecting “Lookup pool”.
- Enter the street number, street name (do not type in road, street, lane etc.) and the suburb.
- Select “Find property” and the address will appear if the property has a valid certificate of compliance.