Pools and Rentals can be a complicated mix. Who should be responsible for the pool's regular maintenance? What happens if the chemistry goes bad and the pool turns green? What if a tenant leaves toys or small items at the bottom of the pool, and the pool pump breaks as a result? What if there's an accident?
Every lease dealing with a private property pool should specifically address and outline exactly who is responsible for what, and when. This will help to ensure everyone knows their responsibilities with both the maintenance, and the repairs. For anyone that has had a private pool, they know there are ALWAYS things that go wrong with them. Sometimes they are very small inexpensive fixes, but sometimes they can be costly repairs!
Owners of the property should always hand the property over to renters with everything including fencing/access up to current code. This means check to make sure every couple of years that your pool and any enclosures are still within code, and you don't need to make any changes or modifications. Most common code issues that can arise are enclosures, underwater lighting/electricity, if the pool isn't being maintained and becomes a health hazard.
Whenever pools and rentals are mixed together, there are additional liabilities that exist. What happens if someone using the pool gets hurt? What if someone drowns? While a landlord may think the liability is solely the responsibility of the tenant living there, it may not be that black and white. And remember, just because the landlord may not have liability, it doesn't mean they won't incur significant legal and attorney fees as a result if a lawsuit were to ensue. How does a landlord deal with any potential pools and rentals liability issue? DO NOT GO WITHOUT LANDLORD INSURANCE.
It's a common misconception of many landlords that their regular homeowner's insurance will cover liabilities in relation to any tenants living in the property. This is not the case. All landlords should carry a landlord insurance policy. Often, the same homeowner's insurance company can extend coverage to include landlord liability, but you need to make that happen. Most major insurance companies offer landlord insurance. Ask each of them for their recommendations on protecting against accidents. Make sure you are aware of all federal and local pool ordinances and laws including enclosures, covers, electrical wiring for underwater lights, drains and amount of suction, safety equipment you may need to provide, self-locking latches or fencing or covers. Insurance agents should be able to help you make sure your pool is covered properly, and you can call your local municipality or visit their website and they will usually have a specific section on pool safety.
Should the tenant be solely responsible for regular pool maintenance? What are the consequences if the maintenance isn't kept up? Acid washes and shocks can be costly if the pool turns green. What if the pool pump/cleaning system breaks as a result of tenant negligence? It is most common for leases to include a provision where the tenant is responsible for monthly pool maintenance, with pool and equipment repairs the responsibility of the landlord minus the first $100 of each incident. This $100 deductible serves as a deterrent for the tenant to take an active role and interest in ensuring the pool is properly maintained, nothing destructive is left at the bottom of the pool like coins or small toys.
If the landlord decides to be responsible for the pool maintenance, the monthly rent should reflect that additional expense and the specific terms and responsibilities written into the lease.
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