As pool season quickly approaches, HOAs and condominiums should follow this simple checklist in preparation to open for the season.
HOA Pool Maintenance Legal Considerations
Review Pool Rules and Regulations
Have legal counsel review the pool rules and regulations to confirm that they are not discriminatory. HOAs and condominiums are subject to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) which prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), familial status, and disability.
Carefully Draft Safety Rules
Associations should be careful not to draft rules which violate the FHA, including rules that patently discriminate by establishing adults-only pools or mandate adults-only swim times, or rules that have a disparate impact on a protected class, such as a rule that requires traditional swimsuits which discriminates against those who practice a religion that prohibits revealing attire. Although the FHA does allow appropriate safety rules, they must be carefully drafted.
HOA Swimming Pool Contracts and Renovations
Review and Negotiate Contracts
Carefully review and negotiate swimming pool management agreements, swimming pool cleaning agreements, and other contracts. Before executing any vendor contract, associations should follow our HOA pool rule best practices for contracting in order to minimize potential liability.
Hire an Engineer for Major Repairs or Renovations
Hire an engineer to act as a project manager for any major pool repairs or renovations, such as a pool resurfacing project or clubhouse improvements. Project managers can assist associations with preparing the scope of work, managing the bid process, selecting the contractor, reviewing and negotiating the construction contract, ensuring the work is performed correctly, and processing payments.
HOA Community Pool Insurance and Safety Compliance
Review Insurance Coverage
Have an insurance broker review the association’s insurance coverage to ensure that there is adequate insurance in place. Associations should ensure that the insurer has current information about the pool facilities, including the number of pools, the size of the pools, and any special features, such as slides or diving boards.
Ensure Compliance with Laws and Ordinances
Confirm that the pool complies with all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances, including laws regarding the type and height of fencing around the pool, the signage required to be posted, and the availability of safety equipment.
Check Swimming Pool Rescue and Safety Equipment
Check all rescue and safety equipment to ensure that it is in good condition and readily accessible.
Proper Chemical Storage and Record-Keeping
Ensure that all chemicals are properly stored at the appropriate temperature in a well-ventilated and secure area, check pool chemistry on a regular basis, and keep appropriate records.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Promptly Evaluate Requests for Accommodations and Modifications
Promptly evaluate requests for reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications under the FHA. Associations are required to make reasonable accommodations to their rules, policies, practices, and services as necessary to afford a disabled person equal use and enjoyment of their residence and the common areas, including the swimming pool facilities. Similarly, associations must also allow disabled persons to make reasonable modifications to their unit or the common area at their own expense if such modification is necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the property, including the swimming pool facilities.
However, HOAs and condominiums are generally not subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if the amenities are not open to the general public, and therefore community swimming pools and other amenities do not have to comply with the ADA’s 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, including the requirement of an ADA compliant swimming pool lift or sloped entry.
Preparing for pool season can be a daunting task for HOAs and condominiums, but with careful planning and attention to detail, it can be a smooth and successful process. By following this checklist, community associations can ensure that they are in compliance with all laws and regulations, that their contracts and insurance coverage are up-to-date and adequate, and that their pool facilities are safe and accessible for all residents. Don’t forget to evaluate your own unique needs and circumstances and adjust accordingly.