A pool fence can impact settlement

How a pool fence can delay settlement

When selling a home with a pool, it’s worth exercising extra diligence to ensure that the pool and its fence are compliant with state legislation and local government regulations.

When acting as the buyer’s settlement agent, we request Orders and Requisitions for the property being purchased to ensure the buyer is made aware of any council work orders before settlement date.

But depending on the speed of the Council, we may not receive the Orders and Requisitions document until well into the settlement process – in one case, the copy of the Orders and Requisitions did not arrive until the morning settlement was due to occur.

This poses a problem if a pool or pool fence is not compliant.

If a pool or pool fence doesn’t meet lawful standards, the buyer could argue that the property is unlawful, and under the Joint Form of General Conditions (section 9.2), refuse to settle until the issue is fixed.

And if the issue is not uncovered until late in the settlement process, there may be no time to rectify the issue before settlement date, leading the buyer to delay settlement and the seller to possibly incur penalty interest.

For this reason, it is in the seller’s best interest to ensure the pool is compliant prior to an Offer and Acceptance being drawn up.

Agents can help create a smooth settlement process by pro-actively urging the seller to be sure that their pool and pool fence is compliant – and if it’s not, dealing with the breach in a timely manner.

Image by Matt ‘Stringberd’ via Flickr.