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Compliance: Swimming pool safety
Properties with swimming pools are enormously popular and can attract a premium but there are a few factors you need to consider before letting a house with a pool. The most important of these concerns the law.
The swimming pool certificate of compliance
As from 29th April 2016, a swimming pool certificate of compliance is required before you can let a property with its own pool in New South Wales. Initially slated to come into effect in 2015, the law was delayed owing to concerns over a shortage of qualified inspectors – according to informed observers. The term ‘pool’ covers both swimming pools and spa pools that can be filled with water to a depth of 300 millimetres or more, whether they are permanent fixtures or portable.
Each State has their own substantive regulations with respect to swimming pool safety compliance which has become necessary due to a significant number of swimming pool deaths in tenanted properties.
The main aspect of pool safety that the certification programme seeks to address concerns perimeter fencing and although the programme may have been delayed, landlords still need to make sure that their fencing is up to scratch before they let their properties.
Full details of your legal obligations can be ascertained by reading the Swimming Pools Act of 1992 and the Swimming Pools Regulation of 2008. The Australian Standard of 1926 can also be referred to; your local council should have a copy available. The most important stipulation is that your pool should be completely surrounded by a child-resistant barrier to ensure that children cannot gain access to the pool when they are not accompanied by a responsible adult.
Swimming pool maintenance
In addition to making sure that you are in full compliance with all relevant safety regulations, you need to draw up a tenancy agreement that includes a special section regarding the maintenance of your pool. There should be no room for ambiguity in the terms of your agreement as a poorly maintained pool could end up costing you thousands of dollars and could also be a danger to your tenants.
The terms should include:
Daily Maintenance – If the tenant is to be responsible for clearing fallen leaves from the pool and other regular maintenance tasks, this should be made clear in the tenancy agreement.
Technical Tasks – These should be left to the professionals and include such tasks as maintaining the pumps and filters in good working order, adding the right combination of chemicals to meet sanitation requirements and the repair of any leaks that may be discovered.
You may wish to appoint a trusted local firm to carry out all technical maintenance tasks but you should be aware of the fact that it is against the law to try to force a tenant to use any particular maintenance service. With this in mind, you will either have to pay for the service yourself or accept whoever your tenant wishes to use.
You should arrange to have your pool inspected on a regular basis, to make sure that it remains in a safe and sanitary condition. You should of course give your tenants adequate notice before visiting to carry out such inspections.
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The information contained in this article is based on the authors opinion only and is of a general nature which is not indicative of future results or events and does not consider your personal situation or particular needs. Professional advice should always be sought relevant to your circumstances.
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