Protecting kids around pools: The property manager's role
Property managers play a key role by giving their clients accurate advice in relation to pool safety. Pool owners in Queensland must comply with pool safety standards at all times and failure to do so can result in financial penalties. For instance, local councils can issue on-the-spot fines for non-compliant barriers ($930* for individuals and over $2,669* for corporations).
Pool Safety Certificates
Property owners as well as sellers or buyers of properties with swimming pools must obtain pool safety certificates on sale or lease. For a non-shared pool (only accessible to the residents of one dwelling), the owner commits an offence when entering a lease with no pool safety certificate in effect. On-the-spot fines of $2,135* apply ($6,405* for a corporation) and the court can impose a maximum penalty of $22,019.25* (165 penalty units).
A property agent potentially faces disciplinary action under the Property Occupations Act (POA) if they facilitate a lease of a non-shared pool with no pool safety certificate. Please note, this only applies to leases, not sales.
Leases (only for properties with shared pools, accessible to residents of more than one dwelling) and sales (both shared and non-shared pools) may go ahead without a pool safety certificate, but only if the owner has given a Form 36 Notice of no certificate to:
- the buyer (if relevant);
- the body corporate (if relevant); and,
- the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
The pool safety certificate must then be obtained within 90 days after the settlement or lease. Failing to do this can result in a fine of $2,135* ($6,405* for a corporation) which is equivalent to the fine for leasing a non-shared pool with no pool safety certificate. Even though the pool owner in receipt of a Form 36 (e.g. a buyer) has 90 days after settlement to obtain a certificate, they remain responsible for ensuring the barriers comply in the meantime.
Compliance Rests with the Owner
Responsibility for ensuring compliance with pool safety standards rests with the owner of the pool, therefore tenants who provide their own pool are legally responsible for compliance. Installation of any swimming pool, including portable pools over 300mm deep requires building development approval.
Personal Responsibility for Pool Safety
Any person who opens a pool gate and doesn't then ensure it's closed, while not in use, commits an offence and the maximum fine is $22,019.25* (165 penalty units). The court can impose a fine of five times this amount for a corporation. The same penalty applies to any person who wilfully interferes with a barrier in a way that renders it non-compliant.
More Information about these requirements is available at the pool safety page on the QBCC website. *Amounts and penalty unit value current as at 23/3/2020.
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