The laws regulating Swimming Pools in NSW have undergone a series of changes since 2012.
Some key changes have included an obligation upon each owner to register their pool on a newly established online register of swimming and spa pools, the introduction of mandatory and periodic inspections by councils and new sale and leasing requirement affecting pool owners.
The sale and leasing requirements were deferred and will now commence on 29 April 2016.
Some key changes to the new sale and leasing requirements include the following:
- All properties with a swimming pool being sold or leased on or after 29 April 2016 will require a valid certificate of compliance or relevant occupation certificate (with a registration certificate);
- In the case of sales, where a certificate of compliance cannot be obtained, vendors will now be able to shift the responsibility of obtaining the certificate of compliance to the purchaser by attaching a certificate of non-compliance to the sale contract and drafting appropriate contract terms;
- Purchasers who complete a sale with a certificate of non-compliance attached to the contract will have 90 days from settlement to rectify the non-compliance issues;
- A new exemption to the sale and leasing requirements will apply to strata and community title schemes that comprise of more than 2 lots.
- A new exemption to the sale requirements will apply to off the plan contracts.
A certificate of compliance remains valid for a period of 3 years provided it has not been cancelled.
A certificate of non-compliance remains valid for a period of 1 year.
Failure to comply with the new sale and leasing requirements can give rise to serious consequences such as fines/penalties and in the case of sales the opportunity for a purchaser to rescind (cancel) the contract and recover their deposit within 14 days after the contract is entered into.
Some Practical Tips for Owners and Purchasers
- Owners looking to sell or lease their property should request their pool inspections well ahead of their marketing campaign – Anecdotal evidence suggests it is not uncommon for it to take 3-4 months for a Certificate of Compliance or 3 weeks for a Certificate of Non-Compliance to issue following the first inspection. This is due to high pool inspection failure rates and the availability of qualified inspectors, trade persons and materials to carry out inspection and rectify compliance issues.
- Accredited Certifiers authorised to carry out inspections can be found on the Online Swimming Pool Register – please see link http://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/inspection
- Review Self-Assessment Checklist before the inspection – Pool owners are encouraged to download and review a self-assessment pool checklist available on the Online Swimming Pool Register prior to engaging Council or a Certifier to carry out the inspection for the Certificate of Compliance. It gives Pool owners the opportunity to rectify and address any apparent defects to minimise the number of subsequent inspections (and fees) required before the certificate issues.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.