Swimming pool safety
Question from Charlotte updated on 19th January 2016:
What would happen if your rental property has a pool and a tenant has a pool related accident? Could the tenant claim against the landlord in any way? If we, as a landlord, had confirmation that the pool was compliant with the relevant legislation, is that enough to protect our position?
Our expert Bernard Parker responded:
The Fencing of Swimming Pools Act is the operative legislation governing pools in residential properties, both owner-occupied and rented. The purpose is to prevent children drowning in pools.
Local authorities and Councils are charged with administering the Act, and Councils have the authority to enter your property and inspect your swimming pool. They administer specific requirements for fencing pool enclosures, including the height of pool fencing, effectiveness of the fencing, selfclosing gates, and the installation of childproof latches on gates.
If there any defects in compliance the Council has the power to require you to bring it up to standard. If you have any questions about the compliance of your pool you should consult your local Council. If your pool complies with the relevant legislation the next level of responsibility is the user of the pool.
Section 8 of the Act deals with the responsibilities of the “owner and persons in control” of the pool: “Every person who has possession of the property” with a swimming pool that the Act applies to “shall ensure that the pool is not filled or partly filled with water at any time when the person knows or could reasonably be expected to know that any obligation imposed by this section on that or any other person is not being complied with”.
In other words, if the fencing is faulty in any way the occupant must not allow the pool to contain water. It is therefore incumbent upon both tenant and landlord to ensure that the fencing is secure for any pool that contains any water.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, the tenant is responsible for the acts of others on the property, whether they be occupants or visitors. Therefore, the behaviour of people in and around the pool sits squarely as a responsibility of the tenant.Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 30 years.