Friday, April 29, 2016

New Rules for Swimming Pools

From today, there are some potentially significant changes to the rules around renting a house with a swimming pool. If you are entering into a new tenancy agreement for a house from today, this information will apply to you.

Landlords who enter into a new residential tenancy agreement from 29th April will need to take extra steps to ensure that the swimming pool complies with the Swimming Pools Act 1992. It is a breach of the tenancy agreement if these obligations are not followed, as well as potentially attracting fines.

The physical requirements that most people are familiar with like ensuring a fenced off area around the pool, have not changed. The changes are all about ensuring that pools comply with those previous requirements, through a system of certification.

These new rules do not apply to properties with a pool shared between more than two lots - mostly because those properties already had a stricter inspection and compliance regime in place.

A swimming pool register has been created, and it is intended that over time all swimming pools will be registered. The way this is enforced is that properties cannot be bought or leased without getting the required paperwork from the register.

What does my landlord need to do?

Most landlords of homes with private pools (meaning only one or two dwellings share the pool), will need to obtain a Certificate of Compliance from the NSW Swimming Pool Register. This means that the landlord has had the pool inspected by either the Local Council, or an accredited inspector, and the pool passed the inspection.

At the time you sign the agreement, the landlord will need to provide a current Certificate of Compliance (one issued within the last three years). A new building (built within the last 3 years) doesn't need a Certificate of Compliance, instead you need to be given the Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Local Council, and a Certificate of Registration, issued by the Swimming Pool Register.

You can also check if a property has been registered and inspected- both a Registration Certificate and a Certificate of Compliance need to show up for the landlord to be complying with these new requirements. We tested this out- see our results here.

If the pool did not pass the inspection, the owner will be informed by the inspector what work is required to bring the pool up to scratch and can be ordered to do the work by the Local Council if necessary.

What if my landlord doesn't supply a certificate?

The landlord will be in breach of the tenancy agreement if a current certificate is not be supplied at the time the tenancy agreement is entered into.

You can:
For further reading, we recommend checking out other sources of information that have been published for different purposes, such as info from the official sources such as the  Swimming Pool Register, and Fair Trading NSW's swimming pool page.

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