Pri­vate swim­ming pools: An im­pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - PROPERTY - Μy Antonis Loizou

There is a huge and se­ri­ous con­fu­sion over whether a swim­ming pool is a pri­vate or pub­lic fa­cil­ity.

The pre­vail­ing reg­u­la­tions (clear as mud) stip­u­late that a pool is con­sid­ered as be­ing pub­lic if it serves more than ten units. In ad­di­tion, and so there is no fur­ther con­fu­sion, a pub­lic pool must pro­vide men’s/women’s toi­lets, first aid room, show­ers, lock­ers and the pro­vi­sion of a qual­i­fied life­guard dur­ing the pools’ op­er­a­tion, whereas the lo­cal au­thor­ity should reg­u­larly in­spect the pool and pro­vide cer­tifi­cates of the wa­ter qual­ity and the man­age­ment of the pool as a whole.

So, a project with 11 apart­ments must have all the above re­quire­ments if it has a com­mon pool. Is this log­i­cal or work­able?

Who is go­ing to pay the cost of the life­guard (say ±8 hours a day) which could amount in this case at least EUR 100 p.m. per unit over and above the or­di­nary com­mon ex­penses, let alone the ad­di­tional cost of the in­stal­la­tions (in­clud­ing spe­cial steps for dis­abled, fenc­ing, lock­ing up the pool when the life­guard is not there etc).

The whole def­i­ni­tion, as cir­cum­stances stand at present, is a lot of non­sense with its un­ac­cept­able re­quire­ments and of course the added cost.

And all these in ad­di­tion to the var­i­ous oc­cu­pant’s pe­cu­liar­i­ties such as, “I am not us­ing the pool, so I will not pay” and such­like at­ti­tudes.

Hav­ing said this, the au­thor­ity in charge (which is the Elec­tro-Me­chan­i­cal De­part­ment) has a dif­fer­ent view by say­ing that a pub­lic pool is one which is open to the pub­lic and for which an en­try fee is charged.

As such, this De­part­ment does not deal with com­mon-use pools and even re­fuses to ex­am­ine an ap­pli­ca­tion which we all un­der­stand as be­ing pri­vate. So, it is not sur­pris­ing that on sev­eral oc­ca­sions swim­ming pools are filled with earth and planted as a gar­den (other rea­sons apart) for not pay­ing the com­mon ex­penses.

On a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions where the build­ing per­mit au­thor­ity in­sisted that the “pri­vate” pool was pub­lic and hav­ing con­fronted the au­thor­ity the re­ply was “this is a mat­ter of health and safety”, but then we add okay, but such mat­ters do not mat­ter if the project has nine units but im­por­tant if it has ten?”.

We have sub­mit­ted our opin­ion to the Min­istry of In­te­rior that hav­ing a non-work­able reg­u­la­tion is bet­ter to abol­ish it and re­place it with other re­quire­ments e.g. low depth pools (e.g. 1.50-me­tre depth, no div­ing board, step and slides for the dis­abled etc.

Com­pound­ing the con­fu­sion EU reg­u­la­tions (which su­per­sede the lo­cal ones) state clearly that a pub­lic pool is a pool which is open to the pub­lic and for a fee. Adding to the whole con­fu­sion some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties re­quire a pool to have a 3 m. dis­tance from the boundary and oth­ers 1.5 m. dis­tance.

We feel that the Min­is­ter of In­te­rior should look at this since it af­fects the ti­tle is­sue (lack of fa­cil­i­ties) and then the le­gal obli­ga­tion of the ad­min­is­tra­tive com­mit­tee.

So, on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions, we came up with the idea of reg­is­ter­ing the com­mon pool on one of the units and with the re­main­ing ones hav­ing a right to use.

The prob­lem is who will ac­cept the reg­is­tra­tion of the pool on their ti­tle deed, which by pro­jec­tion in­volves the re­spon­si­bil­ity le­gal/run­ning cost.

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This mat­ter came up af­ter a com­plaint from a neigh­bour to the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Paphos about an ad­join­ing project say­ing that the pool was caus­ing a nui­sance. The Mayor had an­nounced that the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity will take such projects to court if the “health and safety” reg­u­la­tions are not fol­lowed.

By pro­jec­tion, if the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­sists on this, it will mean that al­most all pools will be­come pub­lic, non-vi­able and run­down caus­ing them to close.

Bear in mind that the me­chan­i­cal box of the pool must re­main at a dis­tance of 1.50-3 m. from the boundary and if not, the neigh­bour must sign that he/she has no ob­jec­tion, since the claim is that the noise of the me­chan­i­cal room could cre­ate a nui­sance (what about the pool it­self?).

A client of ours had to pay EUR 2,000 as “com­pen­sa­tion” to a neigh­bour in or­der for him to sign the ap­proval (he was claim­ing that he will not be able to sleep due to the pool noise.

We have many prob­lems in the build­ing in­dus­try and this is an­other one which we do not need. www.aloizou.com.cy [email protected]

Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. is the Di­rec­tor of Antonis Loizou & As­so­ci­ates Ltd., Real Es­tate & Projects De­vel­op­ment Man­agers

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