Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Changes in Legislation


Recently the Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 introduced changes to increase swimming pool safety and save children’s lives, but they do put a responsibility on all property owners with swimming pools.

These days the definition of Swimming Pool might mean more than you think. It includes in-ground, above-ground, portable and spa pools that can be filled to a depth of 30 cm or more.

This legislation means that if you sell a property with a swimming pool you must put a Certificate of Compliance into your contract for sale. This was initially scheduled to begin at the end of this month on 29 April 2014, however this requirement has now been pushed back a full 12 months to 29 April 2015.

The reason for this extra time is because councils inspectors have advised that there has been a high fail rate of swimming pools. The owners then need to undertake work to the pool or surrounding area, and have sufficient funds to pay for the work, and then have council re-inspect the pool. This can cause delays in the issue of a compliance certificate of up to 3 months.

This means that if you wanted to sell your property and experienced troubles in receiving your swimming pool compliance certificate, then you may have to wait ¼ of a year to even be able to market your property to look for a buyer.

This has been found to be an unacceptably long time, and so the requirement to have a compliance certificate in your contract for sale has been delayed for 12 months, to enable people more time to have their pools inspected and carry out any repairs that may be necessary.

At the moment this means that if you plan to put your property on the market you are not required to get this certificate or carry out any work, you may still sell the property “as is” and leave the responsibility for the new owner to ensure that the swimming pool complies. However the Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulations 2010 require that the following statement must be included in all Contracts “An owner of a property on which a swimming pool is situated must ensure that the pool complies with the requirements of the Swimming Pools Act 1992…”

For this reason, if you are planning to sell your property, it is certainly a good idea to obtain a Swimming Pool Certificate of Compliance. It will guarantee that you have satisfied the above warning, it will avoid any possible headaches of needing to get one in a hurry if it takes longer to sell your property than expected and you cross the deadline, and it also helps ensure that all swimming pools in NSW comply with safety guidelines to keep our children safe from drowning.

If you are purchasing a property with a pool this year, you should give consideration to requesting a Certificate of Compliance from the owner, even perhaps if you offer to pay for it yourself. This way you will know that the pool is compliant prior to becoming the owner, and possibly save yourself alot of cost for example if the fence does not comply.

Council will be carrying out a compulsory inspection program, whereby they will inspect every property with a Swimming Pool over approximately the next three years. The owner will receive a letter from Council advising when they will be inspecting that street, you are required to pay the inspection fee of $150 and will then be issued with a Certificate of Compliance. If you sell your property within 3 years from the date of this Certificate you will not be obliged to obtain a new certificate.

A Certificate of Compliance can be ordered through your local council at a cost of $150.00. We are advised that they take approximately 10 working days to issue the certificate, subject to how quickly council can make a mutually convenient time with you to inspect the pool, and whether there are any issues which are raised at the inspection which need to be attended to before council can issue the certificate. The certificate may be valid for 3 years, subject to any changes in legislation during that time. Certificates can also be ordered through some private certifiers.

Should you have questions about your Swimming Pool, please let me know, or speak with your local council.

Many thanks to Lake Macquarie City Council for their assistance with my research, however they are not associated this blog.


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