The 2024 Landlord Swimming Pool Safety Plan

by Patrick Freeze  5/20/2024

Your swimming pool is a surefire way to stand out from the crowd and attract tenants. It’s a total crowd-pleaser. In fact, some people filter out properties based on their pool-having statuses.

However, like all good things in life, pools don’t come without their risks. It’s crucial to know how to reduce these risks so you can reap the benefits of pool ownership. Below, we’ll share the safety plan you must make to avoid lawsuits and hurt tenants.

Main Points

The best way to protect yourself from legal risks is to be proactive and prepared. Luckily, there are many precautions you can take in your safety plan to stop pool-related accidents in their tracks.

  • Give tenants a swimming pool safety sheet upon their move to your property. This helps keep your tenants informed. It also shows tenants you care about their safety.
  • Follow all swimming pool-safety-related laws.
  • Conduct preventive maintenance on your pool recurrently.
  • When tenants have concerns or pinpoint needed repairs, address them quickly.
  • Implement Added Insurance Requirements

Are Landlords Liable for Swimming Pool Safety?

As property managers in North Virginia, we know you may get sued or slapped with a hefty lawsuit if your property’s pool use goes awry.

That’s right – you will be liable if someone there for business or leisure purposes gets hurt. For example, if contractors or tenants’ guests get into pool-related accidents, landlords are responsible. Unfortunately, even unlawful trespassers have sued landlords for injuries they’ve incurred in a property’s swimming pool. That’s why it’s essential to understand how to handle pool ownership as a landlord.

Know The Virginia Pool and Spa Drain Cover Safety Law

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act compels owners to install pool drain covers and secondary anti-entrapment systems to prevent physical harm. Federal law requires that you follow this policy, so take notes.

Get Pool Insurance 

Pool insurance is essential for landlords, so they need to examine their plan out thoroughly. Without exception, you should always contact your insurance provider before you add a pool or buy a property with one.

Furthermore, each insurance provider may have different kinds of coverage and criteria, and this will greatly impact your ultimate decision.

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Provider:

  1. What is the policy’s coverage of damage to in-ground pools like?
  2. Does the insurance policy cover damage incurred on above-ground pools?
  3. In what way will my liability coverage have to change to shield me from swimming pool accidents and damage properly?

Usually, a landlord insurance policy’s liability portion costs $100,000 in coverage. Still, even within that category, pools can bring in their own set of risks. So, many insurers recommend that pool owners take in around $500,000 in liability protection. However, experts always know best. You should consult a licensed insurance professional for their take.

Make a Lease Addendum

In your safety plan, it’s critical to add a swimming pool addendum to your lease agreement. This protects yourself from liability. Doing this also presents you with a chance to inform tenants of their pool-related responsibilities, rules, and restrictions.

Below are some factors you should include in your pool addendum.

Pool Addendum Additions

  • Warning: When tenants use the pool premises, they do so at their own risk. The landlord is not responsible for injuries tenants, guests, or property occupants experience.
  • Repair Notification: If the swimming pool premises require repairs, tenants must inform the landlord immediately.
  • Assign Tasks: While property owners will handle some pool maintenance tasks, tenants are supposed to take care of other routine tasks. As such, it’s important that you clearly differentiate the tasks relevant to each party.
  • Follow Manufacturer Instructions: Tenants and guests must use the swimming pool in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Fence Usage: Tell them that at all times, the swimming pool area’s surrounding fence must remain secure. Also, the gate should always stay locked.
  • Emergencies: Your tenants should never enter the water to save someone unless you have the training and certification to do so. They also should know about the rescue equipment at their disposal near the poolside.

Once you’ve finished making your pool addendum, ascertain that your tenant completely comprehends their responsibilities. Give them space to ask questions, sign, and date the addendum. This way, you know you’ve covered all your bases.

Follow Local Fence Laws

Sorry to say, there is no one-size-fits-all pool fence law from county to county. However, the fact remains that compliance with these laws is critical to your insurance policy and tenant safety plan. Because of that, you will need to research your specific local swimming pool laws.

Ensure Pool Barriers are Adequate

All pools should contain barriers to stop people from entering the pool area accidentally or off-hours. These should encompass fences, walls, nearby door alarms, and pool covers.

Pool Fence Requirements: 

  • Surrounds the Area: Make sure the fence surrounds the entire pool.
  • High Height: Ensure it goes up at least 4 feet high.
  • Child-Proof: Have it designed to prevent children from crawling over, under, or through the fence. Install a self-closing and self-latching device that children cannot reach.
  • No Climbing Aids: It must have no permanent structures, equipment, or other objects that would help people climb it.
  • Locked Correctly: Always unlock it outward, away from the pool.
  • For Above-Ground Pools: These should have secured, locked, or removed ladders and stairs. This way, people cannot access the pool when they’re not supposed to.
  • For Portable Pools: These should be fenced, covered, or emptied and put away after each use.

Additionally, if possible, your building should not serve as a pool barrier instead of a fence. However, if you must do this, always install door alarms on the doors leading to the pool premises. This way, if children trespass, they cannot go undetected. Pool covers provide extra protection to, again, ensure children won’t fall in the water if they do get into the pool site.

Maintain Your Swimming Pool

One huge aspect of a landlord’s legal safety plan is extensive maintenance and vigilance. To give you a glimpse, you’ll have to keep at it every month, week, and even day to maintain your pool investment’s condition. If you don’t want to handle these burdens yourself, property managers can help you take the load off.

Common Pool Maintenance Tasks for Tenants and Landlords

  1. Debris Elimination: Eliminate debris from the swimming pool’s surface and bottom.
  2. Filters: Test the filter pressure and backwash continually.
  3. Chlorine and Salt Levels: Test and maintain the chlorine and salt levels.
  4. Water Levels: Examine and change the water level when necessary.
  5. Chemical Check: Check for calcium content, pH, and dissolved solids each month. Also, add chemicals at least once a month. Label and lock away chemicals because they can be dangerous when used improperly. Furthermore, never add chemicals to your pool when swimmers are in there. Finally, put up an easily visible sign that states the pool’s chlorine levels.
  6. Cleaning: Look over, and clean, the swimming pool filters each month.
  7. Pump and Motors: Inspect the pump and motor operations to make sure they’re functioning efficiently.

Provide Rescue Equipment

If pool users don’t have access to a lifeguard, they—and you—should know how to use rescue equipment.

This rescue equipment should always be available right near your swimming pool. This way, pool users can act quickly in the heat of the moment if something arises.

Little additions like floatation devices or a first aid kit can go a long way. Life rings, buoys, or perhaps rescue tubes are also good choices. Other options could include reaching poles or shepherd’s crooks. This may stop some disasters in their tracks.

Add Pool Depth Markers

Depth markers give pool users a tangible measure of which sections are the safest for their individual needs.

Also, depth markers can stop people from taking careless actions that could cause a diving injury. As one example, you can—and should—deter people from diving in waters shorter than 5 feet.

When you post depth markers, you must keep them big and clean enough that people can read them easily.

Other Pool Safety Precautions to Implement

As a general rule, you should take extensive precautions in your safety plan before leasing the property.

Hire a Qualified Lifeguard

While lifeguards may be an unwanted expense, they can save you money in the long run. Their vigilance and high training can prevent lawsuit-causing pool events.

Install Security Features

It’s critical to install security features to protect your investment and your tenants’ safety. For instance, you could install a motion light, alarm, or security camera in your swimming pool area to repel trespassers and record ones that do pass.

Post Warning Signs

Warning signs can be an efficient way to decrease risks and boost safety. So, you could place them across your pool area’s fence. For instance, you could pin “swim at your own risk” or “no diving signs” for user safety reminders.

Take Away Toys

To be cautious, eliminate any and all toys in the swimming pool area. After all, these could draw children without adult supervision to the pool.

Let the Professionals Handle Your Pool Safety Plan

If you follow the above best practices for your pool safety plan, you can benefit from all the benefits of owning a pool as a property owner with less of the negatives.

Another aspect of maximizing your ROI is outsourcing time-consuming tasks. This increases your efficiency and helps make your business a well-oiled machine. You can achieve this by adding professional property managers to your team.

These experts can coordinate pool maintenance and implement safety measures for you. Not only that, but outside of the pool space, they can handle rent collection, tenant screening, building maintenance, and other inconveniences. Contact us today to streamline your property-owning enterprise.

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