Pool safety

Whether you’re an investor or tenant, there are many rules surrounding how you ensure the safety of your pool

Pools are a great asset to have during the warmer months – they provide a reprieve from the heat, and an excellent way to entertain friends and family. But there are many rules surrounding how you ensure the safety of your pool, and whether you’re an investor or tenant – it’s important to know that your pool is safe and in good condition for summer. 

Rules can vary depending on the location of the property, so it’s vital to familiarise yourself with the rules and norms in your area – and clarify any uncertainties with your property manager. 

Getting familiar with the regulations in your area 

Queensland 

In Queensland, property owners must have a pool safety compliance certificate from a licensed pool inspector prior to renting out their property. A copy of this certificate should be included with the tenancy agreement.

All residential pools in Queensland must be registered with the Queensland Building and Constriction Commission (QBCC). If your investment property has a pool that is not on the register, you should register it immediately. Failure to do so can lead to potential fines.

An owner should also ensure that the pool barrier complies with the law as recommended by the QBCC.

When it comes to pool maintenance responsibilities – this can vary. If the pool maintenance is covered by a contract between the property owner and an external company, this should also be listed in the tenancy agreement.

The maintenance should be covered in the special terms of the tenancy agreement. But generally, the tenant is usually responsible for everyday maintenance – such as clearing leaves from the pool. This should be discussed prior to signing the agreement to avoid any unnecessary confusion.  

It is important to include the condition of any pools in the entry condition report, as the tenant will need to return the property in the same condition they received it - allowing for fair wear and tear.

If a tenant is not familiar with pool maintenance, it can be best to discuss this with their property manager for help.

Victoria 

Tenants renting a property that has a pool or outdoor spa in Victoria should check that the fence or safety barrier is secure, especially if there will be children living there. 

It also needs to be ensured that all doors and gates providing access to a pool or spa must have self-closing and self-latching devices.

The Victorian Building Authority recommends checking that gates are not being misused or kept propped open. It’s also important to make sure there are no items that could be used to climb over the barrier close to the gate or fence –including tree branches and pot plants.

Tenants should ensure that all gates to the swimming pool or spa area are always closed, except when entering or leaving the area – and notify the landlord or property manager of any faults. 

If there is a fault with the fence or barrier, which causes it to be unsafe, it can be classified as an urgent repair. In this case the owner or property manager can arrange for it to be fixed immediately.

Some pool maintenance can be indicated in the lease as the tenant’s responsibility, so it’s worth discussing it with your property manager and ensuring that everyone understands their duties in relation to caring for the pool and getting it ready for summer.   

Under new Victorian regulations, all swimming pools and spas must be registered with local councils. All pool and spas will need to be registered before 1 June 2020. Once registered, an inspection is required by a certified building surveyor or inspector. After the inspection, the certificate must be lodged with the council to show that the barrier is safe. Safety barriers will be required to be inspected and certified every 4 years.

New South Wales 

If your investment property has a pool in New South Wales, there are set safety requirements that the pool or spa must meet and be maintained at. The owner of the property must also register their swimming pool or spa pool on the NSW Swimming Pool Register.

One particular aspect that is tightly enforced is pool fencing. With statistical evidence showing that the majority of drownings in private swimming pools involve children under the age of 5 years, there are many varying pool fencing requirements that investors should be familiar with pool fencing requirements.

A copy of a valid certificate of compliance or relevant occupation certificate must be attached to new residential tenancy agreements to rent a property with a swimming pool or spa. But this requirement doesn’t apply to a lot in strata or community schemes with more than two lots.

When it comes to looking after the pool, discussing roles and responsibilities with your property manager and consulting your lease agreement is recommended.

No matter what state you’re in; if you’re not sure what to do to make sure your pool is safe and ready for swimming, talk to your property manager and find out today. 

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