BLOGS

Any information contained in a blog on this website is general in nature only. The content of any blog posted below reflects information which is known to us as at the date of the posting of the blog. Please be aware that the law regularly changes. Please do not rely on the general information contained in the below blogs, instead we recommend that you contact us to obtain legal advice tailored to your own specific situation.

 

May24

Swimming Pool Certification

Amanda Quin - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Swimming Pool Certification - Requirements for Selling or Leasing

If you are selling, purchasing or leasing a property in NSW that has a swimming pool, spa or any excavation, structure or vessel that is capable of being filled with water to a depth greater than 30cm designed for human aquatic activity (all of which for the purposes of this Article will be referred to as a “Pool”), then you need to be aware of new regulations that came into effect from 29 April 2016.

What do the new regulations mean for Pool Owners in NSW ?

All Pool Owners in NSW must:_

  • (a)register their Pool (including Strata Schemes and Community Schemes), if they have not already done so. To register your pool all you need to do is go to http://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/ and enter your name, address, contact details, pool type, approximate age of the pool and complete a self-assessment checklist on your pool; and
  • (b)maintain a safe pool barrier; and
  • (c)comply with any Council orders regarding the safety of their Pool (nb Local Councils have the right to randomly inspect any Pool)

All Pool Owners should generally ensure that their Pool complies with all relevant safety regulations relating to their Pool.

Additional requirements for Landlords:

Before entering into a lease for a premises in NSW that includes a Pool, the Landlord must obtain and attach to the Residential Tenancy Agreement either:

  • (a)A compliance certificate (from either the relevant local Council or an independent registered certifier) in relation to the Pool at the property. The purpose of this certificate is to confirm that the Pool meets the relevant safety requirements. This certificate should be attached to the residential tenancy agreement for the property; or
  • (b)An occupation certificate for the Pool, which is less than 3 years old, together with evidence of registration of the Pool on the Swimming Pool register.

NB The above requirement to obtain and attach documents to the Residential Tenancy Agreement does not apply where the Pool is on common property and the premises are part of a Strata Scheme or Community Scheme that has more than 2 lots.

Additional requirements if you are selling a property in NSW with a Pool:

Before entering into a Contract for Sale for a Property in NSW that includes a Pool (n.b. there are limited exemptions for pools that are on “common property”) the Vendor must obtain and attach to the Contract for Sale either:

  • (a)An occupation certificate for the Pool, which is less than 3 years old, together with evidence of registration of the Pool on the Swimming Pool register; or
  • (b)A compliance certificate (from either the relevant local Council or an independent registered certifier) in relation to the Pool at the Property. The purpose of this certificate is to confirm that the Pool meets the relevant safety requirements; or
  • (c)A non-compliance certificate for the Pool which indicates that the issues that cause the Pool to be non-compliant are minor issues.

Where a non-compliance certificate has been issued and should it show that the Pool has significant safety problems, then the Pool Owner is obliged to rectify the safety problems and then seek a re-assessment of the Pool by a certifier, prior to selling the Property.

However, if the non-compliance certificate indicates that the problems are minor then a non-compliance certificate may be attached to the Contract for Sale and in such a case the Purchaser will instead be responsible for ensuring that the safety issues are rectified. (It may be the case that some Purchaser’s may seek to renegotiate the purchase price based on whom is required to rectify any minor compliance issues).

NB The above requirement to obtain and attach documents to the Contract for Sale does not apply where the Pool is on common property and the premises are part of a Strata Scheme or Community Scheme that has more than 2 lots.

If none of the above certificates are attached to the Contract of Sale, then the purchaser may be able to rescind the contract within 14 days of exchange (or in some circumstances they may be able to rescind the contract right up until the completion date if there is a breach of a Vendor warranty). Therefore it is very important to attach the correct certificates to the Contract for Sale.

What this means if you are buying a property in NSW with a Pool:

The purchaser of a property with a Pool (other than where the pool is on common property of a strata or community title scheme where there are more than two lots in the scheme) should checkthat the Contract of Sale includes at least one of the following;

  • -A certificate of compliance (no greater than 3 years old), or;
  • -An occupation certificate (no greater than 3 years old) and a certificate of registration, or;
  • -A certificate of non-compliance (no greater than 1 year old).

If the Contract for Sale includes a certificate of non-compliance and theproblems with the Pool do not pose a significant risk, then the Vendor can sell the property without being obliged to ensure that the Pool safety is up to standard and insteadthe purchaser will be required to rectify the “minor” non-compliant issues identified by the certifier.

If you are a purchaser faced with the decision of purchasing a property with a certificate of non-compliance you can ask to see a copy of the notice outlining the non-compliant issues. This will give you the opportunity to estimate the potential costs involved to undertake the rectification works and therefore negotiate on the purchase price. Please be aware however that price negotiations should be undertaken prior to exchange of contracts.

For further information visit the NSW Government Swimming Pool Register website at http://www.swimmingpoolregister.nsw.gov.au/ or contact our office on (02) 6882 3133.



May12

Official opening of the Canowindra Office

Amanda Quin - Thursday, May 12, 2016

The new Peacockes Solicitors office in Canowindra was officially opened on Friday 6th May 2016. Geoff Yeo, the solicitor whom is servicing the new office and the directors of Peacockes, as well as many members of the Canowindra Business Community attended the evening to celebrate this milestone. The Canowindra Phoenix newspaper reported on the event and the on-line article is available at: http://www.canowindraphoenix.com.au/peacockes-solicitors-open-for-business/


May03

Interlock Device Orders and Driving Offences

Amanda Quin - Tuesday, May 03, 2016

 

WHAT IS AN INTERLOCK DEVICE?

An interlock device is an Electronic Breath Testing Device linked to a vehicle’s ignition system.The device is designed to prevent the vehicle from being driven unless the driver first blows into the device and prove the driver has a zero blood alcohol concentration.

Whilst driving, the driver must periodically continue to blow into the device to continue to prove that the driver has a zero blood alcohol concentration.

If the device detects alcohol in the driver’s breath, the vehicles ignition system will disable.

WHEN WILL A COURT MAKE AN INTERLOCK DEVICE ORDER?

For many years, the types of penalties that could apply in relation to driving offences have included good behaviour bonds, fines, licence disqualification periods, suspended sentences and for more serious offences or for repeat offenders, courts have also imposed gaol terms.

Since February 2015 the courts have been required to also apply a Mandatory Interlock Order to anyone who is found guilty of either:

  • (a)A first offence of High Range PCA; or
  • (b)A second PCA offence of any type (including low range and special range) within five (5) years of a previous PCA offence (ie in laymen’s terms, a repeat offender).

This new Interlock Order requires a person to install an interlock device in their vehicle at the end of their licence disqualification period, as set out below (please note that limited exceptions apply, please contact us for advice in relation to the same) and their driver’s licence will have a condition applied to it only permitting them to drive a vehicle which has an interlock device installed.

Mandatory Interlock Offence Minimum Interlock Period (starts after the licence disqualification period)

Novice range PCA or Special range PCA or Low range PCA, if it is a second or subsequent offence within 5 years of a previous PCA offence

12 Months

Mid range PCA or Driving under the Influence of Alcohol, if it is a second or subsequent offence within 5 years of a previous PCA offence

24 Months

High range PCA that is a first offence

24 Months

High range PCA that is a second or subsequent offence

48 Months

In addition, the courts can choose to make an Interlock Device Order in relation to other serious driving offences where alcohol was a factor, including dangerous or aggravated driving causing grievous bodily harm or death.

WHAT IS THE COST OF AN INTERLOCK DEVICE?

Participating in an Interlock Program and installing an Interlock Device can cost in excess of $2,200 – however it may be possible to apply for some or all of the Program/installation fees to be paid by instalments, depending upon your financial situation. Again, please contact our office for advice in relation to the same.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T INSTALL AN INTERLOCK DEVICE/ENROL IN THE INTERLOCK PROGRAM WHEN ORDERED BY A COURT TO DO SO?

If a Court makes a Mandatory Interlock Order against you and you do not enrol in the interlock program at the expiry of your disqualification period, then you will remain disqualified from holding a licence (other than an interlock licence) for a period of five (5) years.