Things You Need to Know About Managing a Property With a Pool
Summertime in Australia – just these three words are enough to make you break into a sweat, and if you’re one of our luckier readers, no doubt you’ve already invested in a backyard pool to beat the heat.
But while owning (or rental managing) a pool is awesome on sunny Saturday afternoons, it can also involve a fair amount of work.
So before taking the plunge and investing in your very own backyard pool, dive in to our article this week exploring the ins and outs of owning a property with a pool (pun intended).
OK, so the dull stuff first. Legally in Queensland, both tenants and property owners are bound by the state’s pool fencing and safety regulations. The first and most obvious of these laws is the compulsory installation of a barrier or fence for your pool, designed to reduce the number of children and pets deaths by drowning.
A barrier can be either a satisfactorily high fence, the walls of a building enclosing the pool, or another form of barrier that will prevent your small charges wandering accidentally into the water.
As a property owner, you are held responsible for the adequate fencing of your pool, as well as registering your new backyard delight on the state-wide pool register.
If you’re planning on selling or renting your pool-inclusive property, you’re also required to obtain a pool safety certificate satisfying the authorities and the new buyer that you haven’t cut any corners in ensuring top-notch safety for your pool.
The certificate will be valid for two years, or one year if the pool is shared (for example, the communal pool in a unit complex). More info can be found here.
On-the-spot fines can be issued by your local council should your pool fencing and safety standards not be up to scratch.
As a tenant, you also have certain responsibilities you must abide by if you’re to live in a property with a pool, such as keeping the gate closed at all times and ensuring children do not visit the pool unattended.
Remember that catchy jingle on TV a few years ago run by Kids Alive? Just ‘do the five’ – or refresh your memory.
Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets a pool, doesn’t put chlorine in it, and the children all come out covered in green goo? That actually can happen if you don’t tend to your pool properly.
This might happen in 2 – 3 weeks if you live in New South Wales or Victoria, but in tropical Queensland (especially in storm season), a neglected pool can turn ugly in a matter of days.
And it’s not just harmless algae that’s colouring your favourite summertime hangout, dangerous bacteria such as E. coli can be lurking in that goop.
Also consider the placement of your pool if you’re just building a new one. A sunny location is great for chilled-out Sunday sessions, but the sun can sometimes do more harm than good.
Chlorine, the stuff that Homer forgot to put in his pool, actually dissipates in direct sunlight, while algae breeds faster in warmer water. However, you don’t necessarily need to sacrifice your plum spot. Slow-dissolving chlorine tablets or adding cyanuric acid (which helps diffuse UV rays) will go a long way in ensuring your pool won’t go icky quickly.
Don’t be like Homer – brush up on basic hygiene (and maybe don’t restrict that to the pool either…)
A sweet look
As when installing anything new in your property, it can be difficult to put your dreams and ideas into words.
Pool builders and designers appreciate this, and are usually happy to help out with guiding your thoughts towards the perfect pool for your property. But words can be twisted and good intentions misunderstood.
Our advice is to never go in unprepared. Flip through a few magazines, browse Pinterest and talk to existing pool owners about what works and what doesn’t. Even bringing along a photograph of a pool you liked on holiday can help you get exactly the pool that you want, instead of the pool your builder thought you liked.
Additionally, make sure you outline your priorities to whoever you’ve employed to help you install your pool.
Is being green (not in the Homer way) and eco-friendly your main goal? If so, try researching energy-efficient pool cleaners, environmentally friendly pool chemicals and plant native non-messy trees around your backyard to offset the green land lost in building the pool.
Or what if budget is the key consideration here? Try drafting up a comprehensive budget with your builder or designer, taking into account the long-term costs and setting definitive hard limits on your spending.
Last, but definitely not least, is to have fun in your pool!
After reading through all the boring legalities, the icky hygiene necessities and the budget considerations, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that backyard pools are there to be enjoyed.
After ticking all the right boxes on the jobs we outlined above, make sure to schedule in some good times. Go nuts buying your kids’ (or your own) favourite pool toys and games, or lash out on that super-chill lilo to spend your weekends drinking cocktails on.
Throw some snags on the barbie and invite all your mates over for your first ever pool party. You’ve invested, you’ve worked hard, now is the time to reap the rewards.
Pools can be hard work, and they can be expensive. But ultimately, they add value to your property and make the Queensland summer a lot more bearable. And isn’t that the main goal?