A public register, mandatory pre-contract notices, mandatory pre-settlement notices, recurring inspections, 90-day rectification windows and substantial penalties…

This new sea of red tape flows from the Queensland government’s new pool safety scheme which affects every Queensland property transaction from December 1.

Uniform pool safety standards which, among other things, focus on the quality of fencing required around domestic and resort etc pools, must be complied with by owners before December 2015.

Plenty of time you would think – but the sale or rental of a property at any time after December 1, triggers a requirement that a pool safety certificate be obtained for each pool and spa on the property.

If any pool, installed on a property that is the subject of a sale, does not have a safety certificate by settlement, it is up to the buyer to obtain one (and perform any modifications required) within 90 days.

Many buyers will no doubt require sellers to meet the certification and any modification costs.

A statewide register – which is already being compiled from information held by local councils – will assist prospective property buyers in finding out whether or not a property has a current pool safety certificate.

Of course on top of all this, government could not resist intruding into the property sale process by requiring buyers be given a prescribed “no certificate” notice (if there is no current pool safety certificate) AND information “about matters relating to the Buyer’s potential obligations under the Act” – BEFORE the buyer enters into a purchase contract.

A “no certificate” notice must also be given to the buyer AND the Department of Infrastructure & Planning as well as the body corporate (in the case of an apartment etc) BEFORE settlement. However, if given to the buyer before they enter into the contract, there appears to be no need to re-supply another “no certificate” notice, before settlement – unless perhaps if there has been a change in the settlement date.

Heavy penalties apply for non–registration, non-compliance and failure to give mandatory notices.

Buyers who are not given “no certificate” notices in appropriate cases will of course have compensation rights against sellers and in many cases, their real estate agents. Compensation might, in the worst possible situation, extend to damages for personal injury caused by a pool immersion incident.

Landlords need to provide a safety certificate to the lessee before they sign the tenancy agreement.

Inspections can be arranged with any number of pool inspectors at the charge of around $300 – $500, well above the $130 estimate provided by the Department.

And the certificates have a lifespan as short as 12 months in the case of shared pools!

If a pool does not comply, the owner must carry out any required modifications and arrange a re-inspection within 90 days. The penalty for having a non-complying pool is $16,500.

Spa baths which are continually filled to a depth of more than 300mm are deemed regulated swimming pools as are portable wading pools with a potential depth of greater than 300mm.

Enough red tape? You tell me.


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