Here are the dos and don’ts of renting your property with a pool
Summer is fast approaching and so are the high temperatures of the Central Valley! The idea of renting a home with a swimming pool is very appealing to prospective tenants looking for housing in the greater Sacramento area. However, the liability involved with being the owner of one of these properties with a pool can be a bit more worrisome.
Here, we will break down the dos and don’ts of renting a single-family home with a swimming pool.
Per section 115922 of the Swimming Pool and Safety Act, effective January 1, 2018, any new or remodeled pool must have at least two of the following seven safety features:
- An enclosure, at least 60 inches high and beginning no more than 2 inches above the ground, that completely surrounds the pool. The enclosure must not have gaps greater than 4 inches in diameter and must be void of anything that a child under five years old can use as a hand or foothold. Access gates on the enclosure must be both self-closing and self-latching and open away from the pool.
- Removable mesh fencing accompanied by a self-closing, self-latching gate that can be locked with a key. The mesh fencing must meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specifications F2286 standards.
- An approved safety pool cover. This can either be a manual or power-operated cover that meets ASTM performance standards.
- Exit alarms on any doors of the single-family home that provide direct access to the swimming pool. The alarm can either beep or let out a verbal warning.
- A self-closing, self-latching device on any doors of the single-family home that provide direct access to the swimming pool. The device must feature a self-release mechanism located at least 54 inches above the floor.
- An alarm attached to the swimming pool that will go off upon detection of contact with the water. The alarm must meet ASTM standards.
- Other means of protection approved by a testing laboratory that meet the standards established by ASTM. These means must provide a level of protection that is equal to or greater than any of those referenced above.
Although landlords with older pools are not held to the same requirements listed above, they do have a legal duty to prevent injury on their property and make sure that the dwelling is safe for habitation. This means that any safety features need to be properly maintained and in working order. Here are a few things that can be done to maintain the pool and reduce your exposure to legal liability:
- Hire a pool service. Although some landlords would prefer to cut costs by making lessees entirely responsible for these services, it is best to know for certain that the pool is being inspected and maintained on a regular basis. In order to pass this cost on to the tenants while making sure that it is being done, you can set up a reimbursement system, via the lease, where the landlord is responsible for coordinating service, but the tenant is billed back for the invoiced amount.
- Pool Pump. Confirm that the pump has a bypass mechanism in case something gets stuck to the drain.
- Tripping Hazards. Make certain that all areas around the swimming pool, including grass, decks, and concrete, are in good shape and do not create tripping hazards that could cause someone to fall into the pool.
- Extra Insurance. Speak with your insurance agent and confirm that your liability coverage covers pools. You don’t want to be without this extra coverage!
- Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Addendum. It is very important to have a swimming pool and hot tub addendum that accompanies the lease agreement. Although not all liability can be reduced by a hold harmless clause in a lease, it is beneficial to include something similar to the following verbiage: The Lessor will not be responsible or liable for any injuries, damages, claims, or health problems sustained by the Lessee, or the Lessee’s occupants or guests, or any trespassers, in any way whatsoever as a result of the use of the pool or hot tub. The addendum should also state who is responsible for pool service and what is expected of the lessee in regards to the care of the pool (i.e. keeping it free of debris, notifying owner of any issues, etc.).
While swimming pools can be a major selling point for renters, landlords need to be sure they fully understand the liability that accompanies renting a house that has this sought-after amenity. Whether your pool is new or old, you may consider implementing at least two of the seven features in the Swimming Pool and Safety Act and always make sure that the pool, and the surrounding area and safety features, are properly maintained. The safer the pool and your tenants are, the more protected you will be!