By Maris S. Davies, Esq.
Summertime is right around the corner and associations everywhere are getting ready to open their pools for the season. However, along with the sun, fun, and endless splashes, pools come with potential risks and liabilities for an association. Outlined below are some things to think about and implement to avoid the pool summertime blues.
– Prior to opening the pool for the season, the association should inspect the facility, which includes the pool (through a licensed pool company) and the surrounding amenities (i.e. gates, fences, signs, locker rooms, etc.), to confirm that the same are in working order and have not deteriorated over the course of the winter.
– The association should confirm that its insurance policy is up to date and adequately covers all pool and pool related facilities. The association may consider advising its insurer of the pool inspection and may invite the insurer to participate in the same. This could lead to helpful hints or tips from the insurer with respect to potential issues, liabilities, and/or action to take for potential insurance savings.
– Make sure the association has pool rules in place and that the rules are up to date and compliant with the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing based on familial status. A discrimination claim could be triggered by rules that treat families with children differently than other residents. If you’re not sure whether your pool rules violate the FHA, have your attorney review them!
– Make sure the pool rules include adequate safety provisions, for example:
o No running.
o No glass containers.
o No diving in shallow areas.
o No pushing, horseplay, roughhousing, or dunking.
o No smoking and/or tobacco products in the pool area.
– Make sure all pool contracts are up to date. This includes pool maintenance contracts and pool lifeguard or monitoring contracts.
o If lifeguards are employed by the association, the association should confirm, review and verify each lifeguard’s training. The association should also make sure the hired lifeguards are familiar with the association’s pool, its equipment, its rules, and its safety procedures.
o If pool monitors are employed by the association, the association should confirm that the monitors receive proper training including, but not limited to, pool rules, specific authority to enforce pool rules, safety procedures, and when to call for emergency assistance. If the monitors are not certified lifeguards make sure the same is made clear to the members through signage and pool rules.
If you have any questions on the above, or need assistance drafting or reviewing pool rules prior to the summer season, please contact any of our attorneys at (303) 432-9999.