Since 2013 the State Government has been trying to introduce new laws that will require vendors (and landlords) to include a certificate of compliance or occupation certificate for any contracts for sale of land (or residential tenancy agreements) on which there is a Swimming Pool.
This was due to commence on 29 April 2014. However, due to the excessive demand on pool inspectors, the State Government extended the compliance requirements for 12 months to April 2015. It appears the Government is in no better position and has acceded to the concerns of industry stakeholders and extended the compliance requirements for a further 12 months to 29 April 2016.
A compliance certificate can be obtained by arranging for an inspection by the local council or a private certifier. Council can sometimes take up to 90 days to issue a certificate of compliance due to the limited number of certifiers and the need for owners to bring the pool up to standard after an initial inspection. Alternatively, if the pool is less than three years old, an occupation certificate can be provided in lieu of a compliance certificate (being not less than three years old).
SWIMMING POOL COMPLIANCE
The relevant legislation attempts to clarify the inclusion of land which comprises of a lot in a strata scheme where a swimming pool is situated on the common property of the scheme by including terms which provides as follows: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, a swimming pool states that ‘a swimming pool is situated on premises on which another building is located if the swimming pool is ancillary to that other building, regardless of whether the swimming pool is on a separate lot, such as on common property under a strata scheme.
However, it is still questionable whether the new laws apply to lots in certain strata schemes such as a retail strata lot that may be prohibited by the by-laws from use of the Swimming Pool located in a shared facility strata scheme.
For example, is the swimming pool located on the shared facility strata scheme ancillary to the building on which the retail strata lot is located (and prevented from using the Swimming Pool)?
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE DELAY?
In the meantime, this delay will come as a relief to vendors wishing to sell their property and facing lengthy delays in getting certifiers out promptly. Although the deadline has been extended for a further 12 months, vendors with a swimming pool considering selling their property should be proactive and get a certificate of compliance now given the expected delays. It will avoid being caught up in the expected rush when and if the new laws come into place.
The Government has already notified that it will allow time for new courses to commence to train more certifiers, promote the importance of the safety standards being implemented and to potentially increase the penalties for any non-compliance.
This extension may be an opportune time for the State Government to address the lack of certainty facing mixed use Strata Schemes.