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Unlicensed swimming pool health hazard

Unlicensed swimming pools in Paphos are a major health hazard – they lie half empty, some with stagnant water and this is attracting mosquitoes because no-one’s available to look after them.

Huge problem with unlicensed swimming pools in PaphosUNLICENSED pools in Paphos are causing a health hazard and attracting mosquitos, according to local officials who say they are addressing the issues.

Head of the Paphos municipality public health committee, Fylaktis Konstantinides, told the Cyprus Mail that the situation was out of control.

Konstantinides said that the problem was particularly prevalent at apartment complexes in Paphos, where many owners use them only as holiday homes.

“There are many swimming pools which have not applied for a licence to operate as such. I’m referring to public pools which are classed as public pools, such as those in a block of five or six flats. This obviously excludes hotels.”

The public health committee head said the pools shouldn’t be referred to as “illegal swimming pools” but “unlicensed swimming pools.”

Konstantinides noted that many foreigners own properties used as holiday homes in the town which lie empty for most of the year and this is where problems arise.

“There often isn’t anyone available to take care of these facilities, they lie half empty, some with stagnant water and this is attracting mosquitoes.”

He added that municipality technicians have followed up a number of complaints where water had been left to stagnate and also instances where furniture and other rubbish has been thrown into the swimming pools.

He said that attempts are first made to locate the owners, but failing that, the municipality will send out technicians to the site. They have so far cleaned a number of areas in the town and made them presentable.

“We can’t leave these areas in a state like this as it’s a health hazard. There are very strict regulations governing swimming pools, such as life guards being in place. But we are only talking about the basic hygienic measures. Regular analysis of the water and logs must be kept.”

He added that stipulations regarding obtaining a licence and what is required can be complicated but that forms are available from the municipality of Paphos.

“Someone has to be in charge of each pool and to be responsible. I would urge people to come and apply for a licence. Also if residents see that the upkeep of a pool not being undertaken properly and it’s creating a hazard, to come and let us know and we will take action.”

Konstantinides said that the current law states that swimming pools shared by more than one family are considered a public swimming pool and must adhere to strict regulations including the provision of a lifeguard, separate male and female toilets, showers and footbaths.

Many apartment owners say that this is a ridiculous stance by the government, loading them with hefty costs which are unnecessary as the pools aren’t open to the public.

However, despite attempts by a number of officials and developers to add provisions to the law to classify swimming pools at apartment blocks and complexes as private and not public, as they are for use by residents and their guests, such premises are still classified as public pools.

In addition, an announcement earlier this year stating that the Interior ministry was proposing a new law which makes a distinction between private and public pools and which would also classify swimming pools into five categories, outlining specific criteria for each, has yet to come to fruition.

Readers' comments

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  • D. Rees on 2015/06/26 at 8:21 am Please refer to my earlier comment on June 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm

  • D. Rees says:

    Common Sense should prevail, European regulations have already been made regarding swimming pools but as yet my understanding is Cyprus will not adopt those laws, so the present laws in Cyprus prevail.

    The classification of a pool in a complex being public or private should be resolved by common sense as follows.

    A communal complex otherwise known as a jointly owned building, should by law have a committee, sometimes that committee is deemed to be the developer until title deeds are issued.

    Whosoever is deemed to be the controlling committee of the complex, should write up the rules of the complex, which should include which units are used if any for holiday lets (30 days or less) and which are used as residential homes (Over 30 days ie longterm let), if any units are used as holiday lets then the pool is classed as public and those owners who are using their units for holiday lets should share the burden of the extra costs for the pool being classed as a public pool.

    If all on the complex agree not to rent out as holiday lets, then the rules should be clear and the complex registered as residential and therefore the pool classed as a private pool.

    If anyone then breaks the rules then the committee should take the required action, if the committee does not then the committee members could face a fine for not correctly controlling the complex.

    It is not rocket science!

  • caroline says:

    Worse thing I ever did was by a property with a pool, costs a fortune, nothing but problems. Every time the residents’ committee want more money to sort it out I tell them to fill it in. I’m sure it’s hardly used and the are would make a lovely garden.

    I’m with you Sue, sold 1 property at a loss, 2nd one to sell but can’t give it away. Exchange rate makes it even worse when I wanted to bring the money home.

  • Sue says:

    I agree, those of us that remember the illness that killed people when swimming in water borne polio. Would be dreadful to say the least.

    As for making money, I have nearly lost all my life’s savings, trying to sell my 3 bed apartment in Limassol.

  • Richard says:

    These laws are an absurdity – and also at the time the corrupt brokers were ‘bigging up’ the opportunity with real estate in Cyprus – they were (naturally) never, ever mentioned (along with so much else).

    We have the Troika tipping up demanding this and that and the other – but this whole property industry (along with so very much stress for those unwittingly becoming embroiled in it) could have benefitted from a properly structured – fully participating – cohesive action group demanding a fair hearing and sensible common-sense outcomes from banks & the government. Croatia pulled it off – spectacularly!

    I think it’s something deeply engrained in the British psyche. ‘Keeping up appearances’. We’re all right…stiff upper lip…etc.

    I would love to know how many British people (apart from the brokers) who have actually made ANY money AT ALL or derived any satisfaction AT ALL from owning property in the Republic in the last 10 years. 5%? 10%? 25%? I know I haven’t (both counts) – and I cannot believe I’m alone.

    This forum is a start – as are many other vehicles open to us. Why are we putting up with all of this incompetence and aggravation – year upon year?

    Would Cypriots owning any asset class put up with this ‘circus’ in the UK? Well – let’s face it – they probably wouldn’t have to would they? The UK government would probably be falling all over themselves to help – setting up legal groups and help lines – all costing the tax payer millions of pounds. What did we get? The “right honourable” William Hague signing over a load of development rights on M.O.D land to the Republic’s government 18 months ago without demanding ONE SINGLE CONCESSION for distressed British buyers!

    We have bigger problems than swimming pool laws folks – MUCH BIGGER problems!

  • @All

    In November 2005 Lakis Tofarides, the (then) Chairman of the Land and Building Developers Association, suggested the following measures should be taken to alleviate the situation.

    “The swimming pools in apartment buildings and complexes to be considered private (not public) because the residents and their guests use them. At the same time, residents, in proportion to the number of persons living on the building/complex, could be trained as lifeguards. This means that if there are large families on the building, the number of persons to be trained would be decided accordingly”.

    As far as public pools are concerned, the number of supervisory staff needed (lifeguards, etc) should be reduced”.

    In June 2007, the problems with the swimming pool laws were discussed with the Permanent Secretary of the Interior Ministry, Dr Lazaros Savvides, when Denis O’Hare, Linda LeBlanc and I met with him; we are still waiting for a reply.

    In August 2008 it was reported that the Cyprus Government was looking to change the swimming pool laws, but nothing happened.

    There’s been a Written question to the European Commission E-001470/2011: European Standard for swimming pools and its application in the municipality of Paphos

    Why the government chooses not to simply transpose the EU regulations into the local laws is beyond me.

    EN 15288-1: 2008 Swimming pools – Part 1: Safety Requirements for Swimming Pool Design (English)

    EN 15288-2: 2008 Swimming pools – Part 2: Safety Requirements for Swimming Pool Operation (English)

  • John Swift says:

    The house that we rented in May was the same, the ex-pat paid to maintain the pool never came near until 2 weeks before we rented, the neighbours told us that the water was bottle green 2 weeks before we arrived. The ex-pat house agent was supposed to oversee this so I wonder where the money went.

  • hector says:

    Yep, classing these communal pools as public and requiring lifeguards etc. will really cause this problem to get worse. If owners were already reluctant/struggling to pay towards the routine maintenance of their communal swimming pool before, then this will just make things worse as is being borne out by this article. It won’t help the already stagnant (forgive the pun) property market.

  • SANDRA says:

    It is the same old story here yet again. Laws unfit for purpose! Devised in a hurry when the property market was taking off and totally unworkable in the real world. How do they expect a handful of people to stump up huge amounts of money to comply with these ridiculous regulations! it is coming home to roost now, when people just abandon their pools! They (the government) are to blame for the current situation and as usual they take forever to do something about it! I believe it was about 7 or 8 years ago they agreed themselves the rules are absurd! All it takes is common sense application. Is that too much to ask?

  • Mike says:

    Stagnant water, mosquitoes, eyesores affect us all therefore if it is deemed these pools are a problem how hard is it to introduce controls at the planning, construction and title deed stage with the ability for the municipality to have the pools drained and cleaned or cleaned and a charge applied to the registered owner whether that be a developer or private individual or group. As long as the charge was obscenely prohibitive with non payment resulting in a prison sentence. Alternatively 60 odd cubic metres of concrete poured into an average 8×4 metre pool would sort it then send the bill. We need to stop all this fuzzy wuzzy, wrapping in cotton wool, protectionism attitude. Hit them where it hurts most and thats in the pocket it seems. Shortly after there will be no problem.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.

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