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Swimming Pool Liability for Condos and HOAs - June 2017
A private swimming pool run by a condo or homeowners’
association (HOA) can be a very attractive amenity to potential homebuyers.
However, while they can be popular with owners, pools create a number of
liabilities for the association that need to be addressed to avoid safety and
To retain the benefits that a pool brings to your
association, your board of directors will need to mitigate the risks of
operating a pool by instituting proper safety measures, supplemented by
adequate insurance coverage to protect the association from liability.
When evaluating the risk a pool poses, some potential
liabilities may be fairly obvious while others may not. Obvious risks are
drowning or slip and fall accidents, but don’t overlook items such as water
quality, chemical management and lifeguard staffing. Adequately identifying
your risks is essential to addressing them.
Your association’s board of directors should consider appointing
a pool committee that can take responsibility for reviewing, updating and
distributing pool rules. This process should begin with a review of all state
and local regulations involving pool operation to ensure compliance. The
committee should review the rules annually to make sure they are still
addressing liability concerns, plus conduct a thorough inspection of all
aspects of the pool facilities.
To avoid key areas of liability the committee should examine
the following aspects of the property’s pool:
- The pool area should be completely surrounded by a fence or
other structure that includes a gate or door with a locking mechanism meant to
prevent unauthorized access when the pool is closed.
- All rescue equipment including flotation devices, life hooks
and backboards are readily accessible in case of an emergency; there should
also be a first aid kit on hand.
- Chemicals should be kept in a cool, dry, well-ventilated and
secure area inaccessible by patrons.
- Chemicals should be monitored on a consistent basis with
recordkeeping completed in accordance with any state or local regulation.
- Hours of operation should not be taxing on the resources of
Pool rules should be posted clearly in the pool area, and
annually distributed to all residents.
Are you Covered?
Even if you take all the right precautions, it is important
to be prepared in the event of an accident. Check with CMR Risk & Insurance
Services, Inc. to verify if your association’s current liability coverage
addresses your pool risks. When talking to our team, also ask about any
stipulations a policy may have for coverage. If your pool is not up to
regulation, some policies may not pay out in the event of a claim, so it’s
important to know what is required of you.