Is Your Condo's Liability Stuck in the Deep End?
Swimming Pool Liability for Condos and HOAs
As summer approaches, risks are on the rise because of outdoor events and gatherings that may occur on your property. And if you have a swimming pool, it’s time to listen up.
Private swimming pools owned by a condo or homeowner’s association can create several liabilities that need to be addressed to avoid safety and legal concerns. To retain the benefits that a pool brings to your association, your board of directors will need to mitigate risks by instituting proper safety measures supplemented by adequate insurance coverage.
When evaluating the risk a private pool poses, some potential liabilities may be 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 it's still addressing liability concerns and 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 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 the association.
- Pool rules should be posted clearly in the pool area and annually distributed to all tenants.
Even if you take all the right precautions, it’s important to be prepared in the event of an incident. Be sure to verify if your association’s current liability coverage addresses your pool risks. 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's required of you.
For more on real estate liabilities and how to minimize risk, chat with us!
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