New Swimming Pool laws come into effect next month

New legislation is going to prove a headache for clients selling or leasing properties with a swimming pool or spa pool.

From 29 April 2016, all properties in NSW with a swimming pool or spa pool cannot be sold or leased without a valid certificate of compliance or, if less than 3 years old, an occupation certificate that authorises the use of the pool (a “relevant occupation certificate”).

To date, the only requirement has been to register your pool with the government, which is a relatively easy process and can be done online here.  This was meant to have been done by 29 October 2013 but can still be completed (a fine of $220.00 may apply but is unlikely).

Do the changes apply to me?

The changes apply to you if you are the owner of a property with a swimming pool or spa pool. If you own a lot in a strata scheme that has a swimming pool or spa pool, then you own that pool jointly with all other owners in the strata scheme and the owners’ corporation is responsible for ensuring there is a valid certificate of compliance.

A “swimming pool” is defined as an excavation, structure or vessel that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 30cm and is used for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity. This means even a small, above-ground pool or spa may require a certificate of compliance. (If you think about it, some blow-up pools fall into this definition!)

I am selling my property. How do the changes apply to me?

If you are selling your property you must ensure the contract for sale includes:

  1. a valid swimming pool certificate of compliance or a relevant occupation certificate issued within the last three years, and
  2. a certificate of registration.

Failure to attach either document may allow the purchaser to rescind the contract within 14 days of exchange (unless settlement has already occurred).

I am leasing my property. How do the changes apply to me?

If you are leasing your property then you, and/or your real estate agent, must ensure that any residential tenancy agreement entered into on or after 29 April 2016:

  1. includes a valid swimming pool certificate of compliance or a relevant occupation certificate, and
  2. a copy of the certificate of compliance is provided to the tenant.

How can I organise an inspection and obtain a certificate of compliance?

Inspections and certificates can be carried out and issued by local councils and accredited certifiers registered with the Building Professionals Board. Accredited certifiers are those holding category A1, A2 or A3 or category E1 accreditation under the Building Professional Act 2005).

We recommend you arrange your inspection as soon as possible, even if you are not planning on selling or leasing for some months. Often, councils and certifiers can be booked out for weeks in advance and, if you are required to carry out works to the pool, there will be further delays in completing those works and arranging a further inspection.

For more information, head over to the Office of Fair Trading website. A Swimming Pools fact sheet is available here.

Have any other queries about leasing or selling your property?

Contact Trouncer Legal today by phoning (02) 9481 9800, emailing or by filling out our contact form here.

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