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The Cyprus swimming pool nightmare

Taking criminal proceedings against owners and Management Committees who fail to comply with the swimming pool law and regulations will damage the Cypriot economy – especially tourism.

Cyprus swimming poolTHE MUNICIPALITY of Paphos has recently visited numerous apartment complexes with outdoor swimming pools in the area of Paphos and served owners and tenants of these apartments with notices stating they are operating public swimming pools without licenses.

Under the current Law and regulations, swimming pools in apartment complexes are considered to be “public swimming pools”.

According to the Law a “public swimming pool” is a swimming pool which is intended to be used by the general public or groups of the public, such as members of clubs, educational institutions, hotels, tenants of apartment complexes etc, irrespective of ownership and/or partial usage, but it does not include a swimming pool which is intended to be used by the members of a family and/or their guests.

Although swimming pools used by members of a family and their guests are considered to be private, any such swimming pools in apartment complexes are considered to be public and as such require a license to operate.

The European Standard differentiates swimming pools in apartment complexes from other public swimming pools and lowers the standard of maintenance, operation and licensing.

Cyprus Law does not differentiate such swimming pools and hence imposes another financial burden on the owners and Management Committees of apartment complexes.

Promises for the change and revision of the Law and regulations in order to reflect the European Standard principles have been communicated to all interested parties by the Ministry of Interior; however, nothing has been done so far.

The reality is that, pending the change in the Law and regulations, Management Committees must comply with the expensive, time-consuming and complicated requirements set out in the Law and regulations and apply to the Municipality of Paphos in order to obtain the relevant licenses.

Otherwise, according to the Law, any person who operates a swimming pool without having a license or any person who acts contrary to the Law and regulations is guilty of committing a criminal offense and is subject to a fine up to £450 and, if the offence continues after this person has been convicted, the person is guilty of committing an additional offense and is subject to an additional fine amounting up to £50 per each day the offense is continued.

Further to any other penalty imposed by the Court, the latter, in case of a conviction, can order the suspension of the operation of the swimming pool for any such time as the Court thinks necessary.

Such criminal proceedings will cause damage to the Cyprus economy, especially to tourism if the result is the closure of the pools, due to the onerous requirements to obtain a license. The property owners are tourists who will not visit their apartments for their holidays if the pool is closed. Foreigners will not invest in apartments in apartment complexes as their holiday homes if there is no pool they can use. The sunshine and the properties in Cyprus are sources of income for the island and it would be a shame to inflict damage on the property market which has just started to recover.

Our law firm shares the views of the owners and Management Committees of apartment complexes and intends to help the owners and Management Committees in their attempt to lobby the government and, in the meantime, offer assistance to those who have been served with any such notices and criminal proceedings by the Municipality of Paphos.

Christiana Achilleos
Senior Litigation Lawyer
L.G. Zambartas LLC

Readers' comments

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  • Peter Howard says:

    Firstly I would like to congratulate Nigel on the outstanding work that he does to highlight problems in the property market.

    I find it totally amazing that there have not been more comments on this forum about this problem, with swimming pools and the need for lifeguards, which appears to be a total disaster to the bottom end of the property market. With the big increase in Communal Fees, or a closed pool, nobody will be buying an apartment or townhouse with a communal pool – and nobody will be able to sell.

    As estate agents we have already had a substantial number of property viewings cancelled because of these problems.

    Also to be mentioned is that usually a Chairman of the Communal Committee works hard for the community without pay – who is going to do this thankless task when they will be fined and given a criminal record.

  • scott Stanfield says:

    Ed, if this wasn’t mentioned by the lawyer to the buyer of the property when purchased the lawyer has failed to carry out his/her job. If changing rooms and toilets were not installed then this is again down to the lawyer and developer.

  • Gary says:

    I understand it’s not a new problem thanks to your previous updates on the matter. That is what makes it all the more ludicrous. Parliament should have dealt with this by now. For people to get criminal records because of the ineptitude of the Cypriot Parliament is criminal in itself.

    Ed: I couldn’t agree with you more Gary – I have published numerous articles on the subject over the years – including umpteen vacuous announcements that we’ve all come to expect from the government that things will soon change.

  • Stephen D says:

    Surely the developers also have responsibility in that they all sold us a property when this law was active. I know for a fact that this was not mentioned and we have a sign at our development pool that states Private Pool.

    Surely this accounts to mis-selling when it was obvious that this law was around back then.

    Ed: This is hardly a case of mis-selling, the law was enacted in 1992 and the regulations in 1996. I’ve reported on the problem may times over the past 15 years.

  • John T Bentley says:

    Can anyone living in Peyia please advise if they have been served with a notice or fined in respect to this item, thanks

  • MartynG says:

    “Another Fine Mess…….” As OLLY Hardy used to say decades ago!

    Can’t quite believe the Cyprus Government, Law-Makers have only NOW started acting on these issues, but then I can think of quite a few others ‘mañana’ attitudes so typical of many Eastern Med practices, that seem to be inbuilt into the Cypriot cultures?

    Implemented, it would almost certainly impact on many, many, apartment blocks and therefore very likely impact on tourist numbers. Especially where it seems, further costs for accredited lifeguards will be required even it seems for relatively small pools, and less frequently used.

    Addendum : The forlorn picture at the head of this article , looks to me like the very typical small garden or courtyard pool frequently installed in the gardens of private dwellings – and therefore clearly not caught up in the proposed changes? (Sad little lad!)

  • Gary says:

    Cyprus has enough complex issues to deal with in the property market without creating a new one. It should be easy and straightforward for the parliament to resolve this and now.

    Ed: This isn’t a new problem Gary, it’s just that TPTB have been very lax in enforcing the law. Back in 2010 a number of people were taken to court and fined (and ended up with criminal records.)

  • Linda Raine says:

    This is madness.

    Where are all these “qualified” lifeguards going to come from all of a sudden!

    Typical of Cyprus I am afraid to say but bite the hand that feeds you by damaging the tourism industry.

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