Tag Archives: Selling Property NSW

New Swimming Pool Requirements

If you are selling a property with a Swimming Pool or Spa, you must now attach to your Contract for Sale one of the following documents which is less than 3 years old:-

  • Certificate of Compliance
  • Relevant Occupation Certificate together with evidence that the pool is registered
  • Certificate of non-compliance

If you do not attach the correct documentation to your Contract for Sale then the buyer may rescind the Contract within 14 days of exchange, unless settlement has already occurred.

The 29th of April 2016 was the deadline to comply with the additional requirement.

If a Certificate of non-compliance is attached to the Contract, this transfers to the buyer the sellers obligation to obtain a Certificate of Compliance. The buyer has 90 days from the date of settlement to rectify defects listed in the Certificate and obtain a Certificate of Compliance.

If you own a property with a Swimming Pool or Spa you should contact your local council to arrange a compliance inspection, or find a private swimming pool certifier listed on the NSW Swimming Pool Register website.


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.


What is a CPC Certified Practising Conveyancer ?


Over the last few years, you may have noticed the phrase Certified Practising Conveyancer starting to be used, or perhaps noticed a new CPC logo on your local conveyancers’ door. I am often asked “Licensed Conveyancer”, “Certified Practising Conveyancer” – what’s the difference?

Well all Certified Practising Conveyancers are Licensed Conveyancers, but not necessarily vice versa.

A Certiied Practicing Conveyancer, shortened to CPC, is a Licensed Conveyancer who has met a higher standard of professionalism, education and experience.

The standards in NSW are set by our institution the Australian Institute of Conveyancers NSW Division.

If you are speaking with a CPC that person has held a Conveyancing Licence for a minimum of 3 years, is properly insured and conducts themselves in accordance with a strict Code of Conduct.

CPC’s must also obtain 8 education points each year, whereas a Licensed Conveyancer is only required to obtain 5 education points.

The requirements to be a CPC must be met every year to be able to keep the CPC status.

The purpose behind the CPC name is to make it easy for you to distinguish which conveyancers have the most experience and have chosen to make the additional effort to have the most up to date knowledge with developments and technology in order to deliver the best service to you.


What are Improvements, Inclusions and Exclusions in Conveyancing?

When you buy a property in NSW, what you are really buying is the land.
So when you are looking at that four bedroom house with the beautiful polished floors, an amazing chandelier in the foyer and with a wooden cubby house in the back yard, what you are really purchasing is a plot of dirt.

That’s why it’s so important to go through the contract in detail and really specify what you expect to be on that plot of dirt when you hand your money over!

On the NSW Contract for Sale of Land, what you want and what you don’t want are set out in three clear sections – Improvements, Inclusions and Exclusions.

Improvements are the structures that have been built on the land. This is where we specifically list what you are buying, for example a House, or Home Unit, a Garage or Carport. If you are buying vacant land, this will also be stated in this section.


Inclusions are a list of all the items in the house that you expect to remain in the property when you take ownership. Standard inclusions noted on the Contract are blinds, built-in wardrobes, clothes line, curtains, dishwasher, fixed floor coverings, insect screens, light fittings, range hood, stove, pool equipment and TV antenna. Some other common examples are air conditioner, ceiling fans, gas heater, security system etc.
Occasionally you may make an agreement with the seller to buy something that belongs to them and is not really a part of the house, so for example if there are not built in wardrobes in the property, you may agree to purchase a free standing wardrobe that they have in the bedroom as part of the Contract.
The idea here is to be as specific as you can about what you expect so that there are no surprises on settlement.
We have had clients on the day of settlement disappointed about comparatively small things, for example the owner removing tomato plants from the garden. If you really want that tomato plant, or chandelier, or whatever it may be for you, the best thing you can do is write it down on the Contract so you know exactly what you are getting and there are no arguments or unnecessary stress on settlement.


Exclusions are a list of anything that you specifically want taken off of the property before it becomes yours. Examples may be an aviary in the yard or a built in workbench in the garage if you plan to use that space for something else.
This is also the place that the owner may tell you if they plan to take something that you may have thought was included. In this case it would normally be something of sentimental value for example the owner wants to keep the curtains in the bedroom as they were made for them by their mother, or perhaps they wish to move the cubby house to their new home.

The whole system is designed to make sure that you know exactly what to expect on the day of settlement.

Remember, ambiguity is the enemy of the law, so take the time to set out exactly what you and do not want on your Contract.

Why wouldn’t settlement take place on the Contract date?

What reasons could settlement be delayed?
Can you guarantee the settlement date?

These are some of the most common questions I get asked during a conveyancing matter. Of course – I completely understand why! You need to know what date you’re getting your money, what day you need to book the removalist for and bribe all your friends to help you move. It’s one of the most important factors for you when you are buying or selling property.

Unfortunately I can’t guarantee the settlement date any more than I can guarantee that I personally will be alive tomorrow to help you with your conveyancing. I certainly plan to be – but some things are just outside of our control – and I only make guarantees that I know I can honour.

With the property market starting to heat up, and particularly just after the Christmas break, I’ve noticed an increase of properties not settling on the agreed date under the Contract. This is probably caused partly by buyers entering into Contracts before they were ready in fear of missing out on the property to somebody else, and partly by losing some of the working days over the Christmas break for conveyancers, solicitors and banking institutions to process their paperwork in time for the settlement date.

In January we had 6 files not settle on the agreed Contract date and for each file the reason was because either the discharging or incoming mortgagee was not ready.

So the best lessons we can learn from these facts is that you should have your pre-approval ready with your chosen financial institution before you go looking at property, and then when you find the right house tell them straight away so they can give you the formal unconditional approval on that property. Find somebody accountable, it helps if they are also local, that you can check in with at your bank or building society so you can make sure that they will be ready for settlement.

You certainly can’t choose the timing of finding the right home, or the right buyer for your home, but if it happens around Public Holidays, consider lengthening the Contract time a little to allow financial institutions sufficient time to be ready. This may mean that settlement is a little longer than you would have ideally wanted, but you will be more likely to have your settlement go through on the intended date. Particularly if you are exchanging Contracts with your Real Estate Agent, you could suggest this option to them, and call your Conveyancer and lender before exchange to ask if they believe they can meet the expected settlement date. For example, over this past Christmas break our office returned to work on 2 January 2014, most other firms returned on 6 January 2014, and some didn’t come back until 20 January 2014. Everybody deserves a holiday, but obviously the amount of working days dictate when the matter will be ready for settlement, and this is a problem that can be foreseen, and worked around to give you a more reliable settlement date.

Lastly, be aware that even if every person does everything right – your property matter may still not settle on time.
Unfortunately disasters do happen from time to time and may mean that settlement is delayed, for example: – If the tenant doesn’t move out; if a caveat is lodged to say a person has an interest in the property; if the property is vandalised, or has storm damage, or if there’s a fire in the property.

But rest assured that the vast majority of property settlements do, in fact, take place on their Contract date.