THE 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.
Senior Litigation Lawyer
L.G. Zambartas LLC