WE UNDERSTAND that the Paphos Municipality is taking the owners of more than 150 communal swimming pools to court as the pools they manage do not have a licence, a lifeguard or someone responsible for inspecting the pool on a daily basis to ensure it complies with health and safety regulations.
Letters have also been sent by a property management company contracted by Management Committees in the Paphos and Pegeia Municipalities advising that their management fees will increase.
The increase is due to the requirement to licence their swimming pools, analyse its water on a weekly basis and to employ a qualified lifeguard and certified first-aider for 8 hours a day/7 days a week for 6 months of the year. The management company anticipates that the cost of a lifeguard will be €672/week.
For a block of 10 apartments the additional management fees paid by each apartment to cover the cost of a lifeguard alone would be more than €1,700/annum. These fees, together with the other management fees for insurance, maintenance, repair, restoration, utilities and management of the rest of the complex, would bring the total fee for an owner in line with the management fees by someone living in a London apartment (which are £1,863 to £2,777 per annum according to figures published in 2016.)
Giving the many thousands of communal swimming pools in Cyprus it’s extremely unlikely there are sufficient qualified lifeguards and certified first-aiders to meet the potential demand.
Swimming pool regulations
As Cyprus Property News has reported many times over the years, these issues stem from the island’s antiquated regulations that consider communal swimming pools in private residential developments (apartment blocks, terrace/town houses and maisonettes) as public swimming pools, which are required to have life guards, toilets for the disabled, showers and other facilities:
Cyprus Law N.55(I)/92 states in paragraph 2 that the term ‘public swimming pool’ also includes the swimming pools of buildings which are used by the owners of the units or their tenants.
Regulation Number 368/96 states in paragraph 47 (1) that all the employees relating to the swimming pool have to obtain a health certificate, to be clean and to behave properly.
Paragraph 47(2) states that all the trained supervisors will be on duty during the operation and the use of the swimming pool. Their number is determined in accordance with the size of the swimming pool and the number of the persons usually using the swimming pool.
Paragraph 47 (2)(a)(i) states that for small swimming pools at least one trained supervisor is necessary to be appointed.
Part VII of the Regulations Paragraph 53 states that an annual license is needed for the operation of a swimming pool by applying to the relevant authority. The last decision is made by the Minister.
(Readers may click here to view the swimming pool regulations in Greek.)
Over the years there have been the usual vacuous announcements from the Interior Ministry that we have come to expect:
In May 2007 the government was in the process of drafting a slight change to the law governing public swimming pools.
In August 2008 the government was looking into changes in the law.
In January 2015 the Interior Ministry proposed a draft a new law and sent it to Legal Services for scrutiny.
In December 2016 the Interior Ministry announced that the swimming pool laws and regulations would soon be revised as part of an overall package of measures. (Interior Ministry announcement – Greek.)
None of the vacuous announcements have resulted in any change.
The Government must stop making vacuous announcements and take urgent and positive action to bring the swimming pool regulations into the 21st century and in line with their European partners.
For example there are two standards approved by the European Committee for Standardization relating to all types of swimming pools:
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)
These standards consider pools that are solely for the owner’s/proprietor’s/operator’s family and guests (including the use connected with renting houses for family use) as private pools.
Anyone wishing to petition the Minister of the Interior on this subject should write to:
Mr Constantinos Petrides
Minister of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus
Dimostheni Severi Avenue
Management Committees should call a general meeting of owners to discuss the additional costs involved in operating swimming pools and decide what action they should take to manage the situation.
Anyone thinking of buying or investing in a property in Cyprus must consider the significant additional running costs involved if they buy a property on a complex with a swimming pool. These additional costs make buying a property in a complex with a shared swimming pool a much less attractive proposition.