Swimming Pools: Landlord Responsibility

29-Feb-2012

Despite the constant review and update for swimming pool legislation, the statistics for childhood swimming pool deaths are still at an alarmingly high rate.

It is for this reason that we feel this message needs to become larger and broader.

We want to help landlords understand their responsibility for pool safety so that properties can be tenanted with peace of mind and safety for all.

Queensland has what seems to be the toughest pool legislation in the Country, last updated for 1st December 2010 and released in two stages, twelve months in, and the process is working well. Property owners must obtain a Safety Certificate for the pool, spa or similar prior to selling or renting their property.

The process requires a Pool Safety Inspector to inspect the swimming pool for the numerous safety requirements. If the swimming pool passes, a Safety Certificate is issued to the property owner and remains current for a period of two years.

The cost ranges between $300 and $1,000. Most are not experiencing a delay in having an inspector attending the property. Safety Certificates are then listed with the Swimming Pool Register and can be viewed by members of concerned parties at any time.

Technically if a tenancy is in place and the Pool Certificate has exceeded its two year time frame, it would still be current. However, given we are dealing with statistics that support a death rate in child immersion injuries higher than 60%, the best advice is to strictly obtain a new Safety Certificate every two years require safety inspections or certificates. There are guidelines for measurements and gates.

Victoria and South Australia* require swimming pools to have a permit for installation and an initial pool fence.

Western Australia has very clear guidelines for how a pool fence must be constructed including the exact measurements. Essentially, there are three policies depending on what date the pool was installed.

  • Pools installed prior to July 1992
  • Pools installed post July 1992 to 5th November 2001
  • Pools post 5th November 2001

Each time frame provides different rules for the inclusion of boundary fences, window, doors, gate and fences which may all contribute to the pool being fenced safely.

Given what the worst-case scenario looks like, Queensland pool legislation provides the best strategy for any pool owner to follow to minimise the risk of tragedy.

AFL figure Mark Harvey faces inquest due to non-compliant pool fence. Read about the case here: http://goo.gl/PY4fc.

* Since SA legislation has not been updated since 1972 we have used VIC guidelines. Please consult independently for further notice.