Swimming pools and spas - safety

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Faulty pool fences are an urgent repair

If there is something wrong with a pool or spa fence or barrier (including a gate or door) it is an urgent repair.

If you are a renter or resident of a rooming house or park, contact your rental provider (landlord) to arrange for it to be fixed immediately.

If you are a rental provider or rooming house or park operator, you are responsible for having the fence or barrier fixed immediately.

Read more about urgent repairs.

Keeping pools and spas safe

On 1 December 2019, new laws to improve swimming pool and spa safety came into effect in Victoria. They introduce new registration, inspection and certification requirements for property owners.

The owner of the property must:

  • register the pool with the local council
  • have the pool safety barrier inspected every four years
  • lodge a certificate with the council, confirming compliance of the pool or spa barrier.

The new laws apply to swimming pools and spas that are capable of holding more than 300 mm (30 cm) of water. This includes permanent pools, above ground pools, indoor pools, hot tubs, bathing or wading pools and some relocatable pools.

Relocatable pools that do not consist of multiple components and do not require any assembly are not subject to the barrier requirements. An example of such a product is a small inflatable pool that requires no assembly other than inflation.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has more information on laws about swimming pools and spas.

If you’re renting, you should:

  • ensure all gates to the swimming pool or spa area are closed at all times, except when you’re entering or leaving
  • immediately notify the rental provider in writing of any faults with pool or spa fences, doors or gates.

General pool and spa safety advice

All doors and gates that provide access to a pool or spa must have self-closing and self-latching devices. If you’re renting a property that has a pool or outdoor spa, check that the fence or safety barrier is secure for you and others who live at or visit the property (especially children).

The VBA recommends checking that:

  • self-closing and self-latching devices on pool and spa doors and gates work properly
  • gates are not propped open
  • there isn’t anything that that can be climbed on, such as a tree branch, pool pump or pot plant, near the safety barrier or fence
  • fences (especially boundary timber paling fences) are in good repair and cannot be climbed.

Specific requirements for rental providers that enter into an agreement after 29 March 2021

The new rental agreement will include prescribed safety activities for swimming pools and spas to clarify the responsibility of the renter and rental provider.

The rental provider:

  • is responsible for maintaining the swimming pool barrier in good repair
  • must arrange for the repair as an urgent repair
  • must provide the renter with a copy of the swimming pool barrier compliance (which is provided under the swimming pool registration scheme) on request.

The renter must notify the rental provider in writing of any faults with pool or spa fences, doors or gates.

There are also swimming pool requirements for relocatable swimming pools (pools that can be moved around which). Renters must have the appropriate approvals before erecting a portable swimming pool and give notice to the rental provider before setting up a relocatable pool.

Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about swimming pools and spas in a rental, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Section 3 – Definition of an urgent repair
  • Section 72 – Urgent repairs
  • Section 129 – Urgent repairs