What happens if you have a rental property with a pool?
In case you are uncertain or unaware of the swimming pool laws in Queensland, there have been relatively recent changes. And there is no longer any excuse for not taking action to make pools safe. Whether property owner with or tenant in a rental property with a pool, there are clear guidelines now in place. The laws go so far as to include the property manager in the chain of responsibility. So at Position One, we take our property management Brisbane (and surrounds) responsibilities very seriously. When it comes to looking after a rental property with a pool, we are particularly vigilant.
What do the regulations say about a rental property with a pool?
Pool owners of a rental property with a pool
The Queensland pool safety regulations state that all pool owners must construct and maintain a compliant fence around their swimming pool. The regulations came into effect on 1st December 2010. They require property owners with pools to have a pool safety certificate before the property can be leased or sold. This is regardless of when the pool was built.
Property buyer of a property with a pool
If the seller of a property with a pool does not provide a current pool safety certificate, the new owner is required to obtain a pool safety certificate with 90 days of the settlement of the property purchase. This is important if the new buyer intends to rent or lease the property, as this represents a change of residency, and must be accompanied by a valid pool safety certificate.
Tenants in a rental property with a pool
The important thing for a tenant to understand is this. The regulations make no excuse for a pool safety certificate to be provided before signing a lease for a property with a pool. At the time of change over of residency, a valid pool safety certificate is required from the property owner. Furthermore, a copy of the pool certificate should be provided to the tenant, prior to signing a tenancy contract. This means that the tenant should be fully protected by a current safety certificate at all times, and should not be in any doubt as to the validity of the pool safety certificate.
Property managers of a rental property with a pool
Here at Position One, we educate our property managers with the latest regulations concerning a property with a pool so that we can assist both property owners and tenants to understand their respective rights on this tricky subject. With the correct information, we know that both parties to a rental agreement with a pool should understand their rights, and have the correct knowledge of the regulations prior to signing a lease agreement.
What about pool maintenance?
This is a similar issue with a rental property with a pool. As we all know, there are things to do to keep a swimming pool in top condition. This means someone needs to be responsible for the maintenance of a swimming pool in a rental property. The responsibility for pool maintenance needs to be clearly understood prior to signing a tenancy agreement. Again, this is where we at Position One can assist both the property owner and the tenant to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. Sometimes a landlord will provide pool maintenance in the agreement, but only if this is fully documented in the contract.
Daily pool maintenance
Nevertheless, we all know that swimming pools require maintenance on a daily basis. So there is going to be a need for the person actually residing in the property to look after that part. It is impractical to have someone visit a rental property with a pool on a daily basis to conduct routine maintenance. This would generally not be an attractive proposition for the landlord or the tenant.
So who is responsible for a swimming pool in a rental property?
As we have discussed – the answer is everybody from the pool owner, the tenant, as well as the property manager, to make sure all the required regulations have been met.
Another example is the ongoing pool safety. For example, a pool safety gate must be maintained in a serviceable working order, and must not be wedged open, even if there are no children resident at the property.
If you are a tenant of a property with a pool, there is an obligation to report any safety issues with the pool safety system. When a problem is identified, the property manager should be notified straight away, who is then responsible for notifying the pool owner. The pool owner is responsible for maintaining the pool safety certificate, which may require an inspector to assess the pool fence for compliance.
Maintain the No-climb zone
An important feature of the pool safety fence is the no climb zone. This means young children should not be able to get a toe or hand hold on any object adjacent to a pool fence. It is the responsibility of the pool owner as well as the tenant to make sure that outdoor furniture, barbeques, pot plants or any other garden or patio items do not encroach too close or compromise the no climb zone around a pool fence.
Another potential issue is the maintenance of gardens around the pool fence. At the time of obtaining a pool safety certificate, the pool inspector would have checked all surrounding gardens and trees. They do this to ensure that all safety requirements were met in accordance with the regulations. Over time, there is a requirement to maintain gardens and adjacent trees. This is to ensure that the pool safety fence is not compromised.
What else to look out for in a rental property with a pool?
You must have a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) sign displayed near your swimming pool. This is a part of the requirements of the pool safety certificate.
It is for the safety of the pool user to have a correct and visible guide for how to provide life saving assistance in the event of a pool accident. What happens in case the CPR sign near the pool is missing or faded? This is another reason to notify the property manager. Position One Property managers in Brisbane fully understand the responsibility to look after a rental property with a pool.
Pool Safety Inspector
The guidelines for maintaining a rental property with a pool are also quite strict on who can perform work on a pool safety fence. This should only be done by or under the guidance of a licensed pool safety inspector. Do not try to do the work yourself. If you see an unlicensed repairman or contractor attempting to repair the pool safety fence, you have two options. You are within your rights to refer the work to a pool safety inspector. Alternatively, you can report to the property manager who understands the obligations of conducting maintenance to a pool safety fence.
Summary – Pool Safety Laws
If your rental property has a pool, there are several rules and regulations that apply to everyone involved in the lease.
The property owner is ultimately responsible for providing a compliant pool safety fence. They are responsible for providing evidence of the safety certificate with the rental agreement.
The property manager is obliged to ensure that a rental property with a pool is compliant with the regulations. They must ensure that the landlord and the tenant are aware of the regulations.
The tenant is obliged to ensure that the pool safety fence is in good working order. They must notify the property manager of any deficiencies.
The bottom line is? Everyone has a responsibility to make sure that children are the first consideration when it comes to pool safety.
Are in any doubt about the currency of a particular rental property with a pool? You can check the pool safety register to see if a pool safety certificate is current.
For further reading, the full regulation is available here: Guidelines for pool owners and property agents (PDF, 2.3MB).