Things to Consider When Selling or Leasing Properties with Pools

The Swimming Pools Act 1992 legalised the safety fencing requirements of swimming pools in NSW. The Act is intended to improve safety for young children around pools. In 2012, a complete evaluation of the law was finalised in NSW.

The review has revised some rules. These changes are particularly for the home owners who want to sell, buy or lease their properties with pools.

Here are the latest changes in the law:

Registering pools as a requirement from the Government

Owners must register their pools on the NSW Swimming Pool Register. The local government website has provided a step-by-step guide in doing this. Below is the information needed when filing the registration:

  • the address of the pool (as what appears on your rates notice)
  • the type of property (the pool can be within a private residence, multi-occupancy or tourist and visitor accommodation)
  • if the property is water front, or on land greater than 2 hectares or less than 230 square metres
  • when the pool was built (three date ranges apply)
  • if the pool fence has been largely modified or rebuilt, and when that work took place (three date ranges apply)

Registering your swimming pools online is free of charge. Nevertheless, if you ask your local council to register on your behalf, there may be a service charge up to $10. A penalty of $220 will be imposed on the owner who fails to register.

Obligation of getting a compliance certificate

 A certificate of compliance is necessary for buying, selling or leasing a property with a pool. It can be obtained after the following conditions:

  • The pool has been registered on the NSW government register;
  • The Swimming Pools Act and safety regulations have complied;
  • The local council or an accredited certifier has inspected the pool;

Moreover, the compliance certificate is valid for three years from the date of issue. It must be provided by the land owner upon rental. Otherwise, the tenant will have the right to cancel the lease during the term. When selling the property, the certificate must also be attached to the contract. Any other way, the buyer will have the right to nullify the agreement.

On the other hand, a Certificate of Non-Compliance will be issued if the pool is non-compliant with the safety guidelines and the owner intends to sell the property in the near future. The owner will be instructed to fulfil the required actions within a given time.

In addition, if a pool was purchased with a certificate of non-compliance, the buyer is responsible for obtaining a compliance certificate. The purchaser will be given 90 days to accomplish all the necessary requirements. In this matter, a second inspection will be conducted to see if they comply this time.

Who can conduct pool safety inspections?

Under the Building Professional Act of 2005, the local council or accredited certifier can handle a pool inspection. They will issue a certificate of compliance if the pool met all the safety standards.

Are there any exemptions?

There are certain exclusions to the provision of the rules. The laws do not apply to properties with more than two lots and a shared pool. These refer to the units in strata complexes or community schemes. Thus, a certificate of compliance or certificate of non-compliance is not compulsory before buying or renting these properties.

Where to go for further information?

If you are thinking of buying, selling or leasing a house with a pool, you can ask your local pool safety inspection company for more information. They can also help you in acquiring the needed certificates for your pools.