Pool Safety Regulations and Obligations

Question from Kelvin updated on 26th May 2011:

Our tenants have erected a blow up pool in the back yard. It has approx. 1m high sides but is not fenced. Who is liable under these circumstances, if the worst was to happen? There is a pool on site already which is fenced, but is unusable at present and is empty. It is not in the agreement that the pool has to be in working order. Regards

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, landlords have an obligation to ensure the premises are maintained in a reasonable state of repair, and comply with all the relevant health, safety, and building regulations. Tenants are prohibited from using the premises or permitting the premises to be used for any unlawful purpose.

If the fenced pool that is already on site has been excluded from the tenancy, this should be recorded on the tenancy agreement. If it has not been excluded from the tenancy, the landlord needs to ensure it is maintained and in working order In relation to the inflatable pool, the owner of the pool (in this case, the tenant) may have obligations under the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987 to ensure that the pool is fenced in compliance with the building code.

You can find a copy of the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act here. You may also wish to contact the local Council for more information.

If the tenant does not comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, as landlord you may:

• require them to comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act; or

• require them to remove the pool. If the tenant does not comply, you can give them a 14 consecutive days’ notice under the Residential Tenancies Act to comply with their obligation to not use the premises for an unlawful purpose.

If the tenant does not comply with the notice, you could apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved.

For information about how to serve notice and for a template notice please see the Department’s website: (http://www.dbh.govt.nz/tenancy-az-s) (http://www.dbh.govt.nz/pub-sorting-out-problems#map3)

To discuss your situation further, or for information about a landlord and tenants obligations, you can visit the Department’s website (as noted above), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262). You may also wish to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor or community law centre regarding your particular situation.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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