New swimming pool safety laws mean that sellers and buyers of
properties in Queensland that have a pool will need to ensure that
it meets minimum safety standards and has a current pool safety
The Building and Other Legislation Amendment Act (No.
2) 2010 was introduced into Parliament on 18 August 2010, and
has now been passed. These changes will commence on 1 December
These laws will apply to all properties that have regulated
pools, including hotels, motels, caravan parks and manufactured
home parks. Sellers who don't comply with the laws will be
exposed to heavy penalties.
If you're selling a property with a pool,
under a contract of sale for the premises, you must give the buyer
a pool safety certificate (if one is in effect before settlement).
If the pool doesn't have a certificate, you will need to give a
prescribed notice to the purchaser, the chief executive
administering the Act, and if it is a shared pool, to the owner of
the pool (the body corporate). Sellers who do not comply with this
may be subject to a maximum penalty of $16,500.
If you're buying a property with a pool,
you should make sure that you are aware of whether the pool is
compliant, as if you receive a notice (before settlement) that the
pool is non-compliant, you will be responsible for obtaining a pool
safety certificate within 90 days of settlement. You will also be
responsible for the cost of any work required to obtain the
certificate, which in some cases may be significant. This will
create an additional point of negotiations for sellers and buyers
prior to entering into a contract of sale.
If you are a property owner leasing a property
with a pool, the Act requires a pool safety certificate to be
provided to the lessee before they sign or enter into an
accommodation agreement for a nonshared pool (such as a pool on a
residential property). If property owners enter into such an
agreement without first obtaining a pool safety certificate, they
will be committing an offence under the Act. The definition of
'accommodation agreement' captures residential tenancy
agreements and rooming accommodation agreements under the
Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, as well
as any agreement under which a person gives someone else a right to
occupy premises in exchange for money or other valuable
When a pool must be compliant
All pools in Queensland must be compliant by the 'pool
safety standard application day'. The 'pool safety standard
application day' is an important term, as it creates a
statutory timeframe which, if not adhered to, will leave owners
open to penalties. However, the pool safety standards only apply to
regulated pools from the 'pool safety application day', so
in that sense the existing standards continue to apply up until
The 'pool safety standard application day' for a
residential property with a pool is whichever of the following
Five years after the proclamation of the Act
The day an 'accommodation agreement' is entered
The day a pool safety certificate is issued
90 days after the day of settlement, if the building where the
pool is situated is sold and a pool safety certificate is not in
effect for the pool at settlement.
Getting a certificate
If the pool complies with safety standards, the pool inspector
will give the owner a safety certificate within two business days
of the inspection.
If the pool does not comply with safety standards, the inspector
will issue a non-conforming notice stating:
why the pool is non-complying;
what work needs to be done to make the pool a complying pool;
that the owner may ask the pool safety inspector to reinspect
the pool within three months after giving the non-conformity
If the owner does not ask the inspector to reinspect the pool
within 90 days, the inspector must notify the local council and
provide them with a copy of the nonommercial Property conforming
notice. The penalty for having a noncomplying pool is $16,500.
For more information about buying or selling a property with a
pool under this legislation, please contact HopgoodGanim's
Commercial Property practice.
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