Previously, we wrote about the changes to swimming pool compliance, which were due to take effect in April this year. The requirements for the sale (and leasing) of properties with a swimming pool have undergone some changes and a new set of compliance requirements commenced on 29 April 2016.
Certificate of Non-Compliance – Passing responsibility to the purchaser
Previously, owners were required to obtain a valid certificate of compliance or occupation certificate (no more than 3 years old) along with a registration certificate evidencing that the pool had been registered on the online register (www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au).
For clients selling their property, the changes now include the option to obtain a certificate of non-compliance as an alternative to the certificate of compliance. Certificates of non-compliance are issued in the case where a certificate of compliance cannot be obtained and shift the responsibility of obtaining the certificate of compliance to the purchaser.
A certificate of non-compliance cannot be used if you are leasing your property.
I am selling a property with a swimming pool. What do I need to do?
Unless you have already done so, you must arrange an inspection by Council or a private certifier (known as ‘E1 Certifiers’) before you sell your property and obtain either a certificate of compliance or a certificate of non-compliance.
If your swimming pool is less than 3 years old and you have a relevant occupation certificate, you do not need to obtain a compliance certificate, but you must ensure that your pool is registered.
An inspection by a local authority must be carried out within 10 business days where an inspection is requested for the purposes of a lease or sale. If the certifier is not satisfied that the swimming pool complies with the requirements, then a certificate of non-compliance will be issued within seven days, along with a written notice setting out the reasons why the requirements have not been met and the steps to be carried out to meet those requirements.
You should give a copy of your certificate of compliance, certificate of non-compliance or occupation certificate (whichever is applicable) to your solicitor, as it must be attached to the contract for sale. Failure to attach one of these documents is deemed a breach of of the Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2010 (NSW) and a purchaser will be able to cancel the contract and have their deposit refunded.
I am purchasing a property with a swimming pool. How do the changes apply to me?
Purchasers who complete a sale with a certificate of non-compliance attached to the contract will have 90 days from the date of settlement to rectify the non-compliance issues. Purchasers should inform themselves of the nature and extent of the non-compliance issues and assess whether the cost of rectifying those issues is reflected in the purchase price.
Rectifying the areas of non-compliance could involve extensive and expensive works. Purchasers must be satisfied before they sign a contract that they are happy to carry out the works and can afford them. To that end, we suggest purchasers obtain a pre-purchase contract review before attending an auction or signing a contract with an agent. As part of our pre-purchase contract review service, we make enquiries with the sellers and will obtain a copy of the notice issued by the certifier that will detail the areas of non-compliance so that you can make an informed decision regarding the purchaser price or if you want to buy the property at all.
Exemptions – strata schemes and off-the-plan contracts
Strata and community schemes comprising are subject to mandatory inspections every three years and a certificate of compliance must be maintained by the scheme. However, an owner of a lot in a strata or community scheme is not required to attach the certificate of compliance to the contract for sale. This exemption does not apply to 2 lot strata schemes (such as duplexes).
A general exemption also applies to off-the-plan contracts.
If you have any queries about buying or selling a property with a swimming pool, please contact us today by phoning (02) 9481 9800, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or filling out our contact form here.