Lucky Brisbane basks in balmy, swimming pool weather 9 months of the year.
So an attractive pool at a rental property can be a huge draw and help secure great tenants quicker for more.
But who’s responsible for care and maintenance of the pool? Landlord or Tenant?
Well let’s be clear, what we’re talking about here is a non-shared pool at a freehold property, not a shared pool that’s part of a body corporate which undertakes the care and maintenance.
First let’s look at the pool safety certificate:
This is the document that must be obtained before entering into a tenancy agreement. It’s issued by a pool safety inspector if they determine the pool is compliant with current regulations.
There is no set fee for a pool safety inspection and certificate, so it’s worth shopping around. The pool safety certificate for a non-shared pool is valid for 2 years (as opposed to one year for a shared pool).
If you’re using a property manager, they should be asking for your pool safety certificate as part of their sign-up procedure.
At McKenzie Wu Property, we store and monitor the safety certificates for all properties under management with pools to ensure they’re renewed on time.
Related to the pool safety regulations is the pool registration system. All residential pools in Queensland must be registered with the QBCC - the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. There’s no cost to register your pool and you can do it on the QBCC web site. Failure to register can result in a fine.
You can check your own pool’s registration status at https://www.smarteda.qld.gov.au/pools/properties/propertySearch.action
Now let’s look at who’s responsible for proper care and maintenance of the pool during the tenancy.
Pools come with quite a burden of day to day maintenance to ensure they remain crystal clear, chemically balanced and sanitary for their users.
Maintenance tasks will vary depending on the type of pool and associated equipment and the tenancy agreement should be clear on who is responsible for what.
But even before the tenancy starts, there are some responsibilities the owner must undertake to make sure the pool is handed over in the right condition to the tenant:
- The owner must ensure the pool is clean and chemically balanced. At McKenzie Wu, we evidence this by taking a sample from the pool on the day the tenancy starts to a local pool shop. They test the sample and sign off on it being chemically balanced. We staple their findings to the Entry Condition Report which is signed by the property manager and given to the tenant to review, sign and return to the property manager within 3 days.
- The same entry condition report should also confirm the pool is Clean, Working and Undamaged.
- The property owner must also provide the equipment necessary for the day to day maintenance of the swimming pool including things like a vacuum, hoses, brushes and scoops.
The responsibility for ongoing care - the regular vacuuming, cleaning the skimmer box and filter, chemical treatment, backwashing and so on - should be clearly defined in the tenancy agreement so both owner and tenant understand their responsibilities prior to signing the legally binding document.
The owner should think about this before they market the property obviously transferring the obligations to the tenant will save money, but arranging for a third party to do the maintenance will be valued by the tenant and so make the property more desirable plus the owner then knows the pool is being properly cared for.
As is so often the case in renting, market supply and demand dynamics will have a bearing on what the owner can demand and what they have have to pay for.
The Tenancy Agreement
Although Standard Condition 26 of the QLD RTA Form 18a General Tenancy Agreement provides that the tenant must keep clean the premises having regard to the condition at the start of the tenancy - and this presumably includes the swimming pool - it is sensible to add a special condition clearly stating this or stating that the owner will maintain the pool if that is to be the case.
The REIQ’s Special Condition 46 clearly requires places the pool maintenance obligations on the tenant.
At McKenzie Wu, we add further special conditions which expand further on Special Condition 46 responsibilities and the tenant’s obligation to supply and pay for necessary chemicals. Our special conditions also make clear the tenants’ duty to comply with pool safety legislation.
Finally a couple of practical matters:
- As a convenience for the tenant and to avoid unintended neglect of the pool, the owner or property manager should provide written instructions to the tenant for maintenance of the pool.
- And, should the tenant choose to enter into a third party maintenance agreement to carry out maintenance and cleaning of the pool, the owner can’t dictate who that third party shall be.
Hopefully this information on pool maintenance responsibilities for Brisbane rental properties has been useful for you. If you have any questions, please contact us through our website at brisbane-property-management.com.au or call 07 3040 1200