As Queenslanders, we all love the longer, warmer summers. Therefore it’s no surprise that if you’re renting a house or apartment, having a pool adds more value to you and your family’s quality of life. But, with every pool comes its own set of responsibilities. The Qld pool safety laws ensure that property owners, property managers and tenants understand their obligations. They need to work together to ensure their pool and surroundings remains safe to prevent drownings.
How, does the pool safety laws affect you as a tenant, you might be wondering?
You’ve found your dream rental. It has a swimming pool, and the whole family is excited! But, who’s responsible for the safety of the pool fence and maintenance. Are you? Is the property owner, or is it the responsibility of the property manager?
Let’s take a look at what the regulations say:
Before you sign your lease contract, the property owner or agent must give you a copy of a valid pool safety certificate secured by the property owner. At times the property manager will facilitate the pool inspection on behalf of the owner. Failure to secure a pool safety certificate is considered a breach of the owner’s duty to comply with health and safety laws. This certificate ensures that the pool fence complies with the pool safety regulations at inspection time.
Qld pool safety laws apply to pools and spas filled with water to a depth of 300mm. Temporary pools must also comply with the pool safety laws.
Meaning, the certificate must be valid for the duration of your rental contract.
However, the responsibility doesn’t stop with a valid certificate. The pool safety regulations affect you as the tenant too!
Qld pool safety laws not only apply to pool owners but also tenants. Therefore the two parties must work together to prevent accidents and fines.
What are the tenant’s responsibilities with pool and fence maintenance?
The RTA gives helpful guidelines on pool laws and maintenance during a tenancy.
Some of these guidelines include:
Pool barrier compliance rests with the pool owner. Still, tenants have a personal responsibility for pool safety as they occupy the home and use the pool.
Owners of non-compliant pools could receive an on-the-spot fine of $934.15, or a court-imposed penalty of up to $22,019.25! If the tenant is responsible for any non-compliance issues, you can be liable for these fines.
But let’s take a look at the reasons why pool safety laws have become so severe in the last couple of years:
The Queensland Family and Child Commission’s 2018-19 annual report shows 8 children drowned in Queensland swimming pools in the 2018-2019 financial year. That’s why the QBCC has launched a safety campaign to educate property owners, tenants, safety inspectors, property managers and agents about their pool safety responsibilities. In their latest media release, RTA (Residential Tenancies Authority) CEO, Jennifer Smith reminds Queenslanders to take safety seriously around the pool this summer.
Queensland Health reported a total of 83′ immersion incidents’ for 2019/2020 involving young children in private swimming pools around the State. These incidents included children that required medical attention because of immersion in a swimming pool.
Brett Bassett, QBCC Commissioner, said it’s sad that every summer brought tragic news for some families.
“Drowning is silent, and supervision is key for protecting children in and around pools. History shows that when attention lapses, a compliant barrier can be the last line of defence. Greater awareness of pool safety requirements is one way to help reduce these devastating incidents.” Brett Bassett.
The Queensland Coroners Court recently released its findings into a 2016 tragedy where two young children drowned in a residential swimming pool. They found that the fence subsequently failed a building inspection in 12 areas.
So there you have it.
You and your family want to enjoy your pool at your rental for the duration of your stay. That’s why you need to be sure of your responsibilities in keeping the pool fence safe and compliant to prevent accidents and hefty fines.
If you are unsure about a pool’s compliance at a rental property, contact a licensed pool safety inspector for a consultation or further information.
Our experienced and QBCC licensed inspectors are here to help you get your pool compliant so that you only have to worry about the sunscreen and fun. Call us today to book a pool safety inspection.