Swimming pools can make rental properties especially alluring to tenants. However, pools also require a great deal of maintenance and if not taken care of properly, they can cause some major liability issues.
There are a number of problems that can occur on a property regarding swimming pools. Landlords are responsible for maintaining pools and ensuring that they are safe.
Swimming pools are exceptionally dangerous for small children. According to a 2013 report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 390 children drown in swimming pools or spas every year. The Center for Disease Control cites drowning as the number one cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.
Lots of communities require that swimming pools be enclosed by child-proof fencing and secured with a locking gate. Taking these preventative measures will not only protect children from potential accidents but also keep unauthorized guests or trespassers from using the pool. Keep in mind that even a trespasser can sue a landlord if they are involved in an accident.
Pool water that is not being filtered or cleaned properly can regularly raise significant health concerns. Low chlorine levels can make swimming pool water turn green and murky. Algae and other small organisms will begin to take over and coat the indentation of the swimming pool. If this occurs, the pool must be drained and refilled to avoid dangerous bacteria causing illness. This can be a serious liability issue if one of your tenants gets sick. It is imperative to frequently clean swimming pools and ensure they are being filtered correctly.
Dirty, green, gross pools are not appealing at all. If you’re trying to market your property to potential tenants, this will be a huge turn-off. Tenants will likely complain about the sight of the pool and your failure to maintain it may get you into trouble. No one will want to use or be near a filthy, bacteria-infested swimming pool.
Pool Maintenance Responsibilities
Maintaining a swimming pool entails a variety of essential tasks.
Weekly tasks include:
- Removing debris like leaves, twigs, and other objects from the surface of the water.
- Maintaining chlorine levels or salt levels.
- Checking the status of water levels.
- Ensuring the filter pressure is normal and backwashing if necessary.
Monthly tasks include:
- Testing the calcium content, pH balance, dissolved solids, and alkalinity of the pool water. It’s important to add the correct amount of chemicals as needed.
- Cleaning the pool filter.
- Checking the motor and pump.
If your pool is on a multifamily property, like an apartment complex, you should have a sign installed with special pool rules.
- Shower before entering the pool.
- No food, drink or glass in the pool or on the pool deck.
- No animals in the pool or on the pool deck.
- Pool capacity: _____ persons
- Pool hours : ________ – ________
- No running.
- No diving or jumping.
- No children under ______ years of age without a parent.
- No diapers allowed in the pool.
- Use the pool at your own risk.
In addition, the pool’s electric system requires special equipment and expertise. If neither you nor the tenant is familiar with the system, it’s probably a good idea to hire an expert. Hiring a pool maintenance crew to perform all the necessary tasks will ensure that everything is taken care of at all times. You can require your tenants to hire the company and be responsible for maintenance if you wish, as long as you include the details in your lease agreement.
Swimming Pool Addendum
If your property has a swimming pool, then you should include a designated addendum in your lease. This will protect you from liability issues or tenant disputes in the future. Make sure to specify any rules or disclaimers for hot tubs as well. Here is an example of a Swimming Pool/Hot Tub Addendum for a rental agreement.