New compliance laws for swimming pools

Across the country, thousands of homes have backyard swimming pools. With drowning
being a leading cause of preventable death in young children, swimming pool safety is
an important issue for the community.
New compliance laws came into effect in NSW in April 2016, requiring that any property
with a swimming pool now needs a certificate of compliance before it can be sold or
leased. Similar requirements are already in place in Queensland.
New laws for properties with swimming pools
The new laws are a result of an amendment to the Swimming Pools Act 1992 which took
place in 2012. They provide that:
 swimming pool owners must register their swimming pool or spa pool on the NSW
Swimming Pool Register; and
 from 29 April 2016, a copy of a certificate of compliance or relevant occupation
certificate must be attached to the sale contract or new residential tenancy
agreement to sell or rent any property with a swimming pool or spa pool.
For the purposes of the provisions, swimming pools or spa pools are defined as
structures that are:
 capable of being filled with water to a depth of greater than 300mm; and
 solely, or principally used, designed, manufactured or adapted for the purposes of
swimming, wading, paddling or other aquatic activity.
The new laws apply to a number of properties including private houses, units, hotels,
motels and other tourist and visitor accommodation. For units, the owner’s corporation
must obtain the compliance certificate. Individual lot owners can then inspect the
certificate through the Swimming Pool Register website.
Swimming pool certificate of compliance
A swimming pool certificate of compliance is a document which confirms that the pool
and pool barrier meet safety requirements.
An occupation certificate that is less than 3 years old and that authorises the use of the
swimming pool can be used instead of a certificate of compliance. A certificate of
compliance is valid for a period of 3 years from the date of issue.
Local councils and accredited certifiers can carry out a swimming pool barrier inspection
and issue a certificate of compliance.
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Contracts for sale of land
A valid swimming pool certificate of compliance, or a valid certificate of non- compliance,
must be attached to the contract of sale of properties with a swimming pool or spa pool.
This requirement does not apply:
 to a lot in strata or community schemes with more than two lots, or
 for any off-the-plan contract.
Failure to attach a certificate or relevant occupation certificate will allow a purchaser to
rescind the contract at any time within 14 days of exchange of contracts, unless
settlement has already occurred. However, vendors are able to shift the responsibility of
obtaining a certificate of compliance by attaching a certificate of non-compliance.
Should the purchaser complete the sale with a certificate of non-compliance attached to
the contract, the purchaser will have 90 days from settlement to fix the non-compliance
As an owner of a pool you may request your local council or private certifier to carry out
an inspection in order to obtain a certificate of compliance. This must be done by the
authority within 10 business days if the purpose is to sell or lease the land.
It is too early to know the implications of the new requirements however it may affect
your property’s value should the cost of fixing a non-complying pool be deemed
excessive by a prospective purchaser. Or, it may even affect your ability to rent a house
you own which has a pool as part of the rental agreement.
If you own a property that has a swimming pool consideration should be given to
arranging a swimming pool inspection and obtaining a certificate of compliance even if a
sale is not planned for some time.
If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please
contact us on 02 9191 9293 or email