What You Need to Know About Swimming Pool Safety
Does your rental property have a swimming pool? Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, you need to understand the laws surrounding swimming pool safety. You also need to stay up-to-date with changes to current legislation. Here’s what you need to know about swimming pool safety reform in the Northern Territory.
The Facts About Swimming Pool Safety
The Royal Life Saving Society recently released a report about swimming safety in Australia. It revealed some startling facts:
- 291 people in Australia died by drowning in the financial year 2016/17.
- Eight of these drowned in the Northern Territory.
- Victims ranged from babies right through to the elderly, including all age groups.
- 44 people drowned in swimming pools.
Because of this, the Northern Territory government is considering updating the current laws surrounding swimming pool safety.
The Current Swimming Pool Safety Laws
The current laws surrounding swimming pool safety date back to 2003. If you have a swimming pool on a property smaller than 1.8 hectares, you must have a barrier restricting access to children. Your pool barrier can be a fence, house wall or purpose-built construction. It has to have gates, doors or windows that self-close and self-latch.
Swimming Pool Safety for Landlords
If you’re a landlord, you have many responsibilities to your tenants regarding the standard of your property. If you own a rental property with a swimming pool or spa, you must:
- Have a compliance certificate or acknowledgment notice for your safety barrier. Make sure your pool safety barrier complies with regulations.
- Maintain the safety barrier so it remains compliant.
- Respond promptly if your tenant requests repairs to the safety barrier.
By law, you are responsible for all these areas.
Swimming Pool Safety for Tenants
If you’re a tenant in a rental property, you must:
- Report any safety issues as quickly as possible to the landlord or property manager.
- Keep gates or doors in the pool barrier closed, and not prop them open.
- Make sure there are no objects next to the pool a child could climb on to get over the safety barrier.
As a tenant, you’re also responsible for cleaning and maintaining the safety barrier doors and gates. Check to be sure they can self-close and self-latch at all times.
Potential Changes to Swimming Pool Safety Law
The Northern Territory government wants to make sure home swimming pools are safe environments for everyone, particularly children under five years of age. They also want to ensure people with disabilities have safe access to swimming pools. Because of this, Northern Territory residents have recently taken part in a consultation about swimming pool safety. Some of the questions included:
- Do you think the current pool safety laws need any changes or improvements?
- Should there be specific solutions for people with disabilities?
- If the government introduces new laws, how can they do this in a fair and timely manner?
The Northern Territory government is considering updating the current laws to improve safety standards.
What Happens Next?
It’s essential for you to stay informed about any changes to swimming pool safety laws. This is especially important if you’re a landlord with a swimming pool at your rental property. However, you still need to know your responsibilities if you’re a tenant.
This is when a property manager can be helpful. They'll keep you updated about the results of the survey and any legal changes resulting from it. This way, you can make sure your property stays safe and compliant with the law.
Image 1 - Swimming Pool