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Swimming & Spa Pools

23-Feb-2022 10:00:00

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In New Zealand, incidents involving children five years and younger being injured or accidentally drowning in swimming pools can be attributed to the following leading reasons:

  • Unsupervised access to pools through faulty gates and barriers;
  • Ladders or other items left against the pool or gates propped open; and
  • Small portable pools remaining full of water without supervision or a complying barrier.

In recorded incidents where a tenanted property has been the subject of investigations, the property owner, property manager and tenant have appeared to be unaware of their legal responsibilities in ensuring proper maintenance and safety measures are in place.

Harcourts understands how important it is for our property managers (as the owner’s agent) to be aware of their obligations and to ensure that owners and tenants are aware of their legal responsibilities in relation to swimming and spa pools and their surroundings in order to help to prevent injury and deaths.

Key Legislation

Since 1 January 2017, the key legislation laying down provisions and obligations surrounding residential pools is the Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016 (the Act). Under the Act, the following key obligations are in force:

  • A requirement for mandatory inspections of swimming pools every three years;
  • Allowing safety covers to be used as barriers for spa pools and hot tubs;
  • Indoor pools now require a means of restricting access; and
  • Additional enforcement tools for territorial authorities, including Notices to Fix.

Everyone who has an interest in the pool bears a responsibility

Owners should be aware of their ongoing obligations to ensure pool barriers continue to meet compliance requirements during a tenancy. Under section 162D of the Building Act, residential pools must be inspected once every three years by an inspector of the territorial authority within six months before or after the pool’s anniversary date.

The owner and anyone who has an interest in the pool is responsible for ensuring a pool barrier complies. This includes ensuring the maintenance of covers, barriers, fences, self-closing gates and latches, and that these various mechanisms are in working order.

Property managers and tenants both have obligations that they must meet under the Act. Harcourts property managers understand their responsibilities when managing properties with swimming or spa pools, and work with all parties that have an interest in the pool, including the local territorial authority, to ensure that all legal obligations are met. Tenants are informed of the pool fencing requirements of their pool to ensure that they understand their responsibilities.

Portable Pools

If a tenant has erected a portable or inflatable pool that can hold water to a depth of 400mm or more, this is required to have a barrier by law. If there is no pool barrier and/or a pool barrier does not meet the legal requirements under the Act, the property manager will instruct the tenant to remove it. Other portable pools like paddling pools should be supervised at all times and emptied after use.

If you require more information on Swimming and Spa Pools, contact your Harcourts property manager for our Information Sheet.

These articles were featured in Property Management Focus Issue 2, 2022

Topics: Property Management, children, legislation