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Pool rules for numerous lets

The recent heatwave showed the value of having a swimming pool on site for gîte or holiday property owners – but if you have the space and want to build a pool for your guests you must be sure to comply with regulations to avoid accidents and fulfil your legal responsibilities

THERE are three main types of rules on pool safety: on security of access, on water quality and on proper notification.

Since 2006, all in-ground swimming pools must have one of four types of security system: a security barrier which is either removable or permanent; an alarm which can be an immersion detector or perimeter alarm; a pool cover, or a pool abri which is a fixed or telescopic structure which covers the pool. All systems must have the Association Française de Normalisation (Afnor) certification.

Security regulations do not apply to above-ground pools or inflatable or demountable pools or those in a building.

Fines for non-compliance can be as high as €45,000.

These devices are designed to prevent harm to young children and must be in force when there is no adult supervision of a pool. Just as the pool cover is removed while in use the alarm can also be neutralised while people are swimming.

If the pool is on a property that you are renting to holidaymakers with more than one family using it, you may also be subject to water quality requirements from the Agence Régional de Santé (ARS) as a piscine à usage collectif and you should have notified your mairie and prefecture.

Agencies are regional and may have different rules: such that this rule may not apply if the pool is for one family at a time. It does not apply for a personal pool.

Owners should make sure the water is clean and ensure it meets quality controls even if they are not bound to have the regular ARS inspections. Equipment for daily and weekly checks should have been included when the pool was installed.

The ARS has a leaflet (in French) on general rules. The leaflet on pool safety is available (in French) as a PDF document here

You should inform your insurance company and made sure you have cover for any harm to third parties, including those using the pool.

The terms and conditions in your rental agreement should give guidance on pool usage and depths, but you can make it clear you are not responsible for any accidents by stating that your pool complies with the regulations in force (and ensuring that this is the case) and that these are a preventative measure: it is up to the adults on the site to be responsible for safety in and around the pool.

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