conveyancing property law swimming pool

Buying, selling or leasing a property with a Swimming Pool after 29 April 2016

On 11 March 2016, Minister for Local Government Paul Toole finally confirmed that the new regulations applying to the sale of properties with swimming pools would take effect from 29 April 2016.

There had been much speculation as to whether the new regulations would take effect on 29 April 2016 after the proposed application date of the regulations had been postponed for the past two consecutive years.

The new regulations are aimed at reducing the high incidence of children drowning in backyard swimming pools. Currently the majority of swimming pool barriers fail a first inspection.

What this means for Vendors and Purchasers …

From 29 April 2016 all properties sold with a pool must have one of the following Certificates attached to the Contract for Sale:

  • A Certificate of Compliance issued by the NSW Swimming Pool Register,
  • A Certificate of Non-Compliance issued by the NSW Swimming Pool Register, or
  • A relevant Occupation Certificate issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that is less than 3 years old and authorises the use of a swimming pool.

A Certificate of Non-Compliance will outline what rectifications need to be made to ensure the swimming pool will then be compliant.

A property sold with a Certificate of Non-Compliance attached to the Contract will essentially transfer to the purchaser the obligation of obtaining a Certificate of Compliance.

A Purchaser who purchases a property with a Certificate of Non-Compliance attached to the Contract will have 90 days from the date of settlement of the purchase to rectify any issues of non-compliance and obtain a Certificate of Compliance.

These new requirements ensure that Purchasers are fully informed of what they are purchasing in relation to any compliance issues and so Purchasers can take this into account when negotiating a price.

What this means for Landlords and Tenants

Any Residential Tenancy Agreement entered into after 29 April 2016 must have a Certificate of Compliance or a relevant Occupation Certificate attached to it. Landlords do not have the option of attaching a Certificate of Non-Compliance to a Tenancy Agreement.

A copy of the Certificate of Compliance or relevant Occupation Certificate must be provided to the Tenant.

Who is responsible to obtain these Certificates?

In almost all cases it is the owner (or landlord) of the property who has the obligation to obtain the relevant Certificate. However, there are a few exceptions:

In Residential (Land Lease) Communities, Holiday Parks, Boarding Houses or Owner-operated Retirement Villages, it is the responsibility of the owner or operator to obtain the Compliance Certificate.

In Strata Schemes, Community Schemes, Multi-Occupancy Developments and Strata Title Retirement Villages, it is the responsibility of the Owners Corporation to obtain the Certificate of Compliance.

It is noteworthy that properties with more than two (2) dwellings on them are exempt from the requirement, as they are already regulated through mandatory three (3) yearly council inspections.

Recommendations for Vendors

If you are intending to sell your property and it has a pool, please contact our office and speak to one of our Property Lawyers to ensure you are fully informed of the process and so we can assist you to avoid any delay in relation to your sale.

There will be a period of “adjustment” as there will be a large increase on the demand of qualified Pool Inspectors. It will be beneficial to get in early to book your pool inspection and be well prepared.

Recommendations for Purchasers

If you are intending to purchase a property which has a pool, please contact our office and speak to one of our Property Lawyers so that they can assist you by making sure the Contract for Sale for the property you are looking at complies with the new requirements.

We can assist you to know your rights under the new legislation.


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