Homeowners in New South Wales are required to register swimming pools and spas (Pools) under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW) (the Act).Under section 3 of the Act, a Pool is defined as any excavation, structure, or vessel capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 30cm. Further, the structure must be used, designed, manufactured, or adapted for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.
Pending any sale, homeowners must register their Pool via the NSW Swimming Pool Register. Simply follow the online prompts in the link provided to do so. From 29 April 2016, unless exempt, all properties sold must have:
An unexpired Certificate of Compliance;
an unexpired relevant Occupation Certificate (authorising the use of the Pool) and a Certificate of Registration; or
a Certificate of Non-compliance.
Failure to include one of the above documents in the contract for sale will grant the purchaser the right to rescind the contract within 14 days of exchange, unless settlement has already occurred.
Registration of a Pool in NSW is a straightforward and simple online process via the NSW Swimming Pool Register.
Compliance Certificates can be obtained from your local council or from an accredited certifier registered with the Building Professionals Board. A Compliance Certificate affirms the Pool satisfies the requirements set out in Part 2 of the Act. As an example, one fundamental requirement is the installation and maintenance of a child-resistant barrier around the Pool. Compliance Certificates are valid for three years. To avoid incurring costs or delays, ensure your Compliance Certificate is updated prior to sale.
If the Pool is non-compliant with the Act, the local council or private accredited certifier will provide a Certificate of Non-compliance. This will stipulate the reasons for non-compliance and the steps that must be taken to rectify the lack of compliance.
If a seller has received a Certificate of Non-compliance and intends to sell the property before undertaking the works required to rectify the lack of compliance, the seller may transfer the responsibility to undertake such works and obtain a Compliance Certificate to the buyer. The buyer must rectify the defects listed in the Certificate of Non-compliance and obtain a Compliance Certificate within 90 days of settlement. This does not apply to contracts relating to a lot in a strata scheme or community scheme that contain more than two lots or contracts relating to an off-the-plan contract.
Exemptions are available for certain Pools. For example, Pools situated on waterfront properties, large properties, or pre-existing Pools on small properties each attract lesser requirements.
Authorised officers may fine owners a minimum of $220 if their Pool is not registered on the NSW Pool Register. Failure to abide by other sections of the Act may also warrant a maximum penalty of between 5 to 50 penalty units.
If you are selling a property with a pool and do not yet have the required certificates, consideration should be given to arranging a swimming pool inspection and obtaining a Compliance Certificate in advance of the sale. For more information on the sale and purchase of property with Pools, please contact our people:
Ron Zucker 0410 590 111
Eollyn Cortes 0478 727 395
Julia Zou 0426 670 202