A Pool Liability Waiver Addendum is a legal contract incorporated into a Lease Agreement that allows a tenant to use a pool on the rental property. The tenant must agree to take certain precautionary measures, release the landlord from liability, and accept responsibility for damages or injuries to anyone that result from the use of the pool and surrounding area.
Why Use a Pool Liability Waiver Addendum?
If a landlord is planning on renting out a property that has an existing pool, a Pool Liability Waiver is an absolute necessity. Here are some specific reasons why landlords should include a waiver for these situations:
- Notifies the Tenant of the Risk Involved – The use of a pool poses a risk of serious injury. It is important to document those risks so that the tenant is fully aware before using them.
- Reduce the Chance of Injuries – Having a pool on a rental property can lead to anything from minor injuries to possible death. The waiver can provide certain precautions and maintenance required of the tenant. These preventive and proactive measures can help reduce the chance of someone getting injured while using or being around the pool.
- Responsibility and Liability – Due to the danger involved, having a pool on a rental property without a waiver is an unnecessary legal and financial risk for the landlord. Having a waiver helps ensure that the risk of injuries or lawsuits will be the responsibility of the tenant.
What to Include in a Pool Liability Waiver Addendum
A Pool Liability Waiver is an additional addendum the tenant must sign when there is a pool on the property that they can use. This addendum is incorporated into the original lease agreement. The addendum should include the following:
- Type of Addendum – The heading and opening should state that this is a Pool Liability Waiver
- Date the waiver is being signed and goes into effect
- Landlord’s name
- Landlord’s business address
- Tenant’s name
- Tenant’s rental property address
- Date of the original lease agreement
- Introductory information about the addendum and the original lease agreement it is incorporating
- Use – This section should state that the tenant is permitted by the landlord to use a pool on the rental property subject to the terms and conditions of the waiver. It also informs the tenant that the landlord is not responsible for its unavailability due to certain circumstances.
- Seasonality – Depending on the location, a pool may only be open during a certain time. This section should provide the approximate timeframe in which the pool will be open.
- Inherent Risk – This section is an acknowledgment by the tenant of the risks involved with using a pool and the general area surrounding the pool.
- Assumption of Risk – The tenant agrees to assume all risks associated with using a pool and the surrounding area.
- Release – In this section, the tenant will specifically release the landlord and other related parties from any damages or injuries resulting from the pool and surrounding area.
- Precautions – This section informs the tenant that they are responsible for taking certain precautions for the safety of anybody using or around the pool. This includes making sure any entrances are locked when not in use and that individuals unable to swim independently wear appropriate life vest gear.
- Inspection and Maintenance – This section requires the tenant to inspect and maintain the pool to ensure there are no defects, especially those that could lead to injury. The tenant must take care of general maintenance such as the use of pool chemicals and removing debris and obstructions from the pool and surrounding area.
- Repairs – The tenant must notify the landlord immediately of any repairs needed. This section provides that the landlord will be responsible for all repairs but the tenant will be responsible for the cost of any damages if it was due to their negligence.
- Indemnification – For this clause, the tenant explicitly agrees to be responsible for any costs or damages that result from the pool and any potential lawsuits.
- Unsupervised Use – This section makes clear that it is not the landlord’s responsibility to supervise the use of the pool. In addition, this section should include restrictions on who can use the pool without adult supervision.
- Pets – This section prohibits pets from using the pool.
- Violations – This section outlines what will happen if a tenant violates this waiver.
- Governing Law – The law of the lease agreement will also apply to this waiver.
- Landlord’s signature and date.
- Tenant’s signature and date.
When drafting the waiver there are some additional things to consider that may change the specific content of the waiver. Landlords should consider the following:
- State Laws – Certain states have specific requirements for having a pool at a rental property. For instance, some states require things such as providing the tenant a pool safety notice or ensuring that the pool is fenced in. Landlords must review their state and local laws and incorporate any additional requirements into the waiver.
- Hiring a Pool Service Company – It may make more sense for a landlord to hire a pool company to handle the daily maintenance and service required for a pool. Since landlords can often charge higher rent for a property with a pool, they may be able to pay for the services without decreasing the rental property’s profits.
- Renters’ Insurance – While a landlord should have a separate policy, they may also require a tenant to add swimming pool coverage to their renters’ insurance. While it is not a standard item in most policies, it can usually be added.
Just like with the original lease agreement, both parties should have a signed copy of this addendum. The addendum is now part of the original lease agreement and should be kept with it.
If a tenant refuses to sign a Pool Liability Waiver with the original lease agreement a landlord can deny renting to them or restrict them from having or using a pool on the rental property. If a tenant decides to use a pool after refusing to sign the waiver a landlord may have to protect themselves by considering evicting the tenant.
Pros and Cons of Having a Pool at a Rental Property
There are both pros and cons for landlords that have a rental property with a pool. Some pros include:
- More Attractive to some Tenants – Many prospective tenants are looking for additional amenities when deciding on a rental property. Having a pool is considered a luxury amenity and may attract tenants quicker than a property without a pool.
- Increased Rent – Because a pool is an amenity that many rental properties do not provide, a landlord may be able to charge a higher rent than the average rate in the area.
- Increased Property Value – This is especially relevant when a landlord is considering installing a pool in a rental property. While it’s not always the case, a pool has the potential to increase the value of a landlord’s rental property.
There are also some downsides to having a pool at a rental property. Those include:
- Liability and Risk – There is an obvious additional risk that a tenant or guest will suffer a serious injury because of a pool at a rental property. In some cases, a tenant with young kids may be hesitant to rent a property with a pool because of this increased danger.
- Pool Responsibility – There is an added responsibility for the landlord to ensure that they are following proper procedures and any required stated and local laws. In addition, there is the added responsibility of making sure that the tenant is aware and compliant with all of their responsibilities.
- Maintenance and Costs – While a landlord may be able to offset the costs and hire a pool maintenance company, the costs and potential time spent on maintenance can be a deterrent. This is especially true if a major repair is needed for the pool.
- Multi-Unit Facilities – There are additional potential issues when there is a pool that is shared by multiple tenants. This can include the additional cost and responsibility of having security, lifeguards, and the potential reluctance of tenants to want to pay additional pool fees.
If a landlord decides they no longer want a pool on their rental property they have the option of draining it. However, a drained pool comes with different safety issues that would need to be considered.
Additional Safety Precautions for Landlords
At the end of the day, once a rental property has a pool, the best course of action for a landlord is to take as many practical precautions as possible. In addition to having a detailed waiver, landlords should consider doing the following:
- Pool Barrier – If one is not already installed, landlords should consider having a pool barrier installed around the pool such as a gate or fence. This may even be a requirement depending on the location of the rental property.
- Periodic Inspections – The landlord should conduct periodic inspections of the pool to check for any potential issues. This can be a part of the overall inspection of the property. If the landlord has hired a pool company, they should make sure they immediately inform the landlord of any safety issues.
- Visibility – The pool and surrounding area should be well-lit. In addition, anything obstructing the visibility of the pool (e.g. trees, shrubbery, etc.) should be trimmed to ensure maximum visibility.
- Signs – Various signs around the pool can help make tenants and guests aware of important safety information. This might include a safety notice on the entrance leading to the pool as well as other important signs around the pool such as depth markers and “No Running” or “No Diving” reminders.
- Additional Safety Items – A landlord should consider providing tenants with additional safety items such as a lifesaver and pool safety information.
The majority of this information could also apply to a landlord renting out a property with a hot tub. However, it is important to tailor the waiver and take the appropriate safety measures specifically needed for a hot tub.