WITH the hot weather continuing into autumn, Queensland swimming pools have been getting an extended workout. But down south, it’s the pool owners – and in particular those wanting to sell – who are feeling the heat as an April deadline approaches.
While existing pool owners in the Sunshine State have up until the end of November 2015 to comply with tough new safety standards for swimming pools and spas, those in New South Wales have only a matter of weeks left.
Under new regulations, after the end of April, the sale or lease of a property with a swimming pool or spa in our neighbouring southern state can be rescinded, unless the property owners have complied with all requirements under tough new rules to shore up the safety of pools and spas.
With “crunch time” soon approaching, industry pundits are watching to see how our southern neighbours deal with the upcoming deadline, and a backlog of applicants, due to a purported 9000 pool applications statewide per week.
With Sydney in particular experiencing high property sales volumes, real estate agents, owners and official bodies are concerned about the impact on potential transactions, as local councils strain to process the rush of applications prior to the April deadline.
While the laws were brought into play here in Queensland in 2010, owners still have until the November 2015 deadline to comply.
That is, unless a property with a pool is sold or leased, in which case, the new rules apply immediately.
Until then, sellers of Queensland property with a non-shared pool (i.e. private, for individual homes) must provide buyers with one of two things prior to settlement:
● either a Queensland pool safety certificate that has been issued by a licensed pool safety inspector;
● or an official notice – Form 36 – that no safety certificate is provided.
A Form 36 Notice of No Pool Safety Certificate places the onus on the buyer to obtain a safety certificate within 90 days of settlement, and to cover all associated costs.
Buyers should also be aware that Form 36 includes the responsibility of putting up appropriate fencing measures, which can run into many thousands of dollars.
While safety certificates are not yet mandatory for existing pools unless property is sold or leased, pools and spas in Queensland must be registered with the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works.
A safety certificate is not required to place a pool on the register.
Owners and buyers can verify whether a pool is already registered via the Department of Housing and Public Works online property search facility. In Queensland, a pool safety certificate remains valid for two years or one year for shared pools, such as those in apartment complexes.
So with 18 months to go before the deadline, some Queensland pool owners may be tempted to postpone the inevitable.
However, for those owners wanting to avoid the potential chaos of delays and red tape in the approach to November 2015, appropriate timing of their applications will be crucial.
– Article written by Michael Matusik – Queensland property analyst
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