The rise in demand for apartments and gated communities has seen shared resources including pools increase. The advantage with shared pools is that the cost of operation is distributed among the members of the community hence lower per household contribution to pool maintenance. Also, shared pools offer a sense of security because when a child strays into the pool area or in the case of an unfortunate drowning event, neighbours can respond and offer a helping hand.
According to the pool safety standard which outlines the technical requirements for safety barriers around pools, a shared pool refers to a pool where residents from two or more dwellings have a rightful access to use the pool. This definition also accommodates pools that are located on areas associated with motels, hotels, hostels, and other Class 3 buildings such as guest houses, lodging-house, boarding houses or backpackers’ accommodation.
The pool safety regulations for shared pools do not affect every pool owner, but rather those whose properties have shared pools. Among these entities include:
For pool and spa facilities that are jointly owned and as such are enjoyed as common property, body corporate helps in the management of the operations and activities of the facility. The pool safety regulations require that a safety certificate be availed by this body to the incoming tenant in the event one of the current owners of the properties wishes to sell or rent their property either by signing a new rental agreement or renewing what existed. Compliance with the pool safety regulations is important for body corporates because any case of drowning or submersion injury occurring in a shared pool can lead to a harrowing law case if the pool is found to be violating the standards.
Owners of these facilities are categorised under short term accommodation providers. They are required by law to have a pool certificate. The pool safety legislation for shared pools restricts the owners of these facilities from letting them if they do not have a compliance certificate in place. Where the fence repairs around the pool exceed 5 metres of fencing, the owners must lodge a building application with their local councils.
Hostels, Backpackers, and Caravan Parks also fall under short term accommodation providers and hence are required to have a pool certificate.
Pool safety regulations for shared pools not only cover management and operations, but also property buying and selling. Before signing off a contractual agreement when selling a property that has a shared pool, you must give the buyer the safety certificate if it’s available and if not, you should give the purchaser a Form 36. This form advises the purchaser that your pool may not meet the safety standards and it also outlines the steps the buyer should follow to get compliance. This will help the purchaser make a decision before buying the property.
Before settlement, you should give the buyer the safety certificate or the Form 36. You must also take a copy of this form and give it to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission and where applicable the body corporate in charge of the pool.
In case no pool certificate has been given to the buyer and the transaction has reached settlement, the buyer has up to 90 days to ensure they comply with the safety standard.
Where the sale is through auction and a valid safety certificate is available, it should be surrendered to the purchaser before settlement. If it is not available, you should give your agents and the prospective buyers the Form 36 before signing the contract of sale.
If the property you are leasing out has a shared pool, the pool safety regulations for shared pools take the date of the lease signing as the effective date even if the agreement takes effect later on. The pool owner in this case a unit owner of the shared pool must ensure that an effective safety certificate is in place before signing or renewing a lease agreement. A copy of the pool certificate must be handed over to the occupier or tenant unless the accommodation is purely short term such as in hotels, motels, and caravans.
Non-compliance for shared pool property owners can lead to fines and heavy penalties. Instead of waiting for the law to take its natural course, it is important you have your pool inspected and a certificate issued. Contact our licensed pool barrier inspectors today.
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