Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in very young children in NSW. With over 300,000 backyard swimming pools in NSW, swimming pool safety is a serious issue that affects the whole community.
In 2012, the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was amended to improve the safety of children around swimming pools in NSW. The changes include:
- Swimming pool owners must register their swimming pool or spa pool on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
- Local councils and accredited certifiers registered with the Building Professionals Board, can carry out inspections of swimming pools.
- From 29 April 2016 a copy of a valid certificate of compliance or relevant occupation certificate must be attached to new residential tenancy agreements to rent property with a swimming pool or spa pool. This requirement does not apply to a lot in strata or community schemes with more than two lots.
- From 29 April 2016, properties sold with a pool must have one of the following attached to the sale contract:
- a ‘relevant occupation certificate’;
- a ‘certificate of compliance’; or
- a ‘certificate of non-compliance’, issued from the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
This requirement does not apply:
- to a lot in strata community schemes with more than two lots; or
- for any off-the plan contract.
- Vendors are now able to transfer the obligation of obtaining a ‘certificate of compliance’ to the purchaser. A ‘certificate of non-compliance’ can now be attached to the contract of sale.
- The buyer of a property with a non-compliant swimming pool has 90 days from the date of settlement to address any issues of pool barrier non-compliance and obtain a certificate of compliance.
- Properties with more than two (2) dwellings are exempt from the requirement to provide a compliant pool barrier on sale or lease, as they are already regulated through mandatory three (3)-yearly council inspections.
A relevant occupation certificate means an occupation certificate issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that is less than 3 years old and that authorises the use of the swimming pool.
Allowing the transfer of obligation for swimming pool barrier compliance provides greater flexibility to the sales process, while ensuring that incidents of non-compliance are addressed.
However, this flexibility does not extend to the leasing properties. Landlords are to ensure that the tenant is provided a copy of a valid ‘certificate of compliance’ at the time the lease is entered into because landlords have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their tenants.
- A certificate of compliance can be obtained from the local council or an independent accredited certifier who is registered with the Building Professionals Board. Contact details for accredited certifiers are available on the Swimming Pool Register website at swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au.
- Allow plenty of time to obtain a certificate of compliance – anecdotal evidence suggests that around 95% of pools fail at the first inspection.
- Many councils estimate that it can take up to 90 days before a pool becomes compliant, mainly due to the availability of qualified contractors to do any required repairs or work.
- You can check if a property with a swimming pool has a current certificate of compliance by accessing the NSW Swimming Pool Register online at swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au
For more information please refer to:
- NSW Government’s Swimming Pool Register – http://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/
- Royal Life Saving NSW – http://www.royallifesaving.com.au/
- Or contact your local council
NB The information contained in this Article (and its contents) is general information only and should not to be considered as legal advice.
Penny Browne Conveyancing