In Focus

Properties with pools - what are landlords and tenants responsible for?

Teleisha Thomas

Teleisha Thomas

December 2016
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Now that the warmer months are upon us, you might be spending more time outdoors and around the water, particularly if you have a pool in your yard.

Unfortunately, drowning is the most common cause of death in children under five years. As such it is important to be clear on the requirements of pool safety and maintenance, particularly in rental properties, where landlords and tenants are responsible for different pieces of the pool safety puzzle.

“The safety of our tenants is of utmost importance,” says Sophie Lyon, General Manager, Jellis Craig Boroondara Property Management. “It’s essential that pool fences are properly maintained, gates are self-closing and self-latching and that any other safety precautions are followed. All members of our property management team are well-versed in pool safety and are happy to help ensure compliance at all times.”

In the case of rental properties, questions often arise regarding the responsibilities of the landlord and those of the tenant(s). Use the checklist below to help clarify responsibilities and ensure everyone remains safe over summer.

If you’re a landlord:

- If there is no pool fence installed, it’s your responsibility to install an appropriate safety barrier. You must have a pool safety compliance certificate from a licensed pool inspector before renting out your property.

 - Make sure fences, in particular timber paling fences, are in good condition, are non-climbable and have no gaps larger than 100mm.

- With the help of your property manager, respond quickly to any pool or spa maintenance requests to ensure ongoing safety.

- It’s a recommendation to have your pool, spa and safety barrier inspected at least every three years in order to ensure it continues to comply with all regulations. This should be done by a registered building surveyor or registered building inspector.

If you’re a tenant:

- Regularly check that the pool fence and gates are secure and in good condition. Always report any damage to the pool fence and/or gates to your property manager immediately for urgent repair.

- Never prop the pool gate open. If the self-close or self-latch on a gate fails, report this to your property manager immediately.

- Ensure climbable objects such as barbecues, pot plants, outdoor furniture and trees are not installed or left next to the pool fence. These could be used to gain access to the pool area.

Last but certainly not least, always closely supervise children around the water. Constant visual contact is essential.

For more information about pool and spa safety requirements visit the Victorian Building Authority website.

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