Residential Property with a Swimming Pool
It is wonderful to have a swimming pool within your residential property, but swimming pool safety is a vital issue for every homeowner. An alarming fact is that the majority of cases involving drowning of children in the swimming pool are results of poor pool fencing which is not in compliance to the new swimming pool safety legislation.
All kinds of swimming pools located in a property, are governed by the safety legislations namely the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (the Act) and the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008 in New South Wales (NSW).
A comprehensive review of the Act was conducted in the year 2012, and a number of amendments were designed. To enhance the safety of the children below 5 years of age, the swimming pools are now surrounded by a child restraint barrier.
As per the new Act, the Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 (the Amendment Act), homeowners are required to have their pool fences inspected, to determine whether they meet the required safety standards, before selling or leasing their property.
On 29 October 2012, the Amendment Act came into effect and made a number of amendments to the Act.
The legislative amendments for pool owners are outlined below:
- Swimming pool owners are required to register their swimming pools on an online register to be provided by the NSW State Government;
- Swimming pool owners are required to self-assess their pools, and give a statement in the register, that the said swimming pools meet all the safety standards to the best of their knowledge;
- If swimming pool owners fail to register their swimming pools, a penalty of $220 is levied;
- Before selling or leasing out a property with a swimming pool, the seller should provide a valid swimming pool compliance certificate; and
- Upon swimming pool owner’s initiative, accredited certifiers under the Building Professional Act 2005, may conduct a swimming pool inspection.
How Does This Affect the Seller & the Buyer
A seller must ensure that the new prescribed warning statement is included in the Contract of Sale, which was exchanged on or after 1 September 2010, even if the property does not have a swimming pool.
If there is any swimming pool located in the property, the seller is legally required to ensure that such pool is compliant with the new safety requirements. In case the seller has not acquired the Compliance Certificate issued by the Council, he/she should make necessary arrangements with the local government authority, to obtain such certificate before marketing the property for sale.
A buyer at first should ensure that the seller has included a ‘Warning Statement’ regarding the swimming pool in the prescribed form in the Contract of Sale.
The buyer should also enquire with the seller and the local government authority, whether the swimming pool located in the property is compliant and has been issued appropriate Compliance Certificate.
The responsibility lies on the buyer to ensure that the swimming pool is compliant and to obtain the Compliance Certificate from the Council, in case the swimming pool is not compliant as per the guidelines of the Amendment Act.
If you are looking to buy or sell a property with a swimming pool, feel free to contact our team of experts at Owen Hodge Lawyers to guide you through the process.