Pools and Spas in a Rental Property
Here comes summer! Warm days and nights, barbeques and beach time. All in all, it’s a very pleasant time of the year to enjoy time spent outdoors.
If you have a pool or a spa at a rental property, you want to do all you can to insure the safety of your tenants so that your long summer days don’t turn into long sleepless nights worrying about their safety and your liability.
If you have a pool or a spa on a rental property, it is imperative that you do all you can to make sure the area safe. The first thing I would suggest, is to call your insurance company to ask what steps can be taken to make your pool area safe. There may be insurance requirements that you are unaware of in order for your policy to be enforced. This almost always includes erecting a pool fence. You may argue that your tenants are older and without children thus you feel it’s unneeded. However, it still is necessary. I managed a property where the children from next door would sneak in for a dip when the tenants were away. Of course, there are always grandchildren or friends visiting from time to time as well. The point is, regardless of the age of your tenant, you should always be properly protected by setting up your property for the utmost in safety.
Another option may be a rigid pool cover, not the solar kind which is more like a floating sheet of plastic to help heat the water, but one that covers the entire pool from end-to-end and side-to-side. Typically, these covers can support the weight of an adult.
While the State of California does not require safety signage for private pools, there may be local city or county ordinances requiring safety signage. Additionally, your insurance company may request pool safety signage and that you have a Swimming Pool Emergency Safety Hook + Life Preserver. For spas, I recommend a locking cover.
If you have sliding doors leading out to the pool, making sure there are extra latches for small children is an important measure. All it takes is 5 minutes with your back turned for a disaster to occur.
I have an owner who will be leasing out their home. They have an older spa in their back yard, and were going back and forth about including that amenity with their property. They decided that if they rented the property with the spa, they would have to be responsible for maintaining it should it need repair. They decided to have it taken out as they did not want to incur the responsibility of and cost of maintenance and repairs. Smart owners!
As to the issue of maintenance, it is always my advice to include a pool/spa service when leasing your property. In our busy lives, we have good intentions of taking care of the yard or pool/spa, but rarely do I see these things maintained like they should. Making sure the chemicals are correct and the motor and pool equipment are in good working order should be very important to an owner. It can be an expensive fix if the tenants do not notice that something is not working correctly. In my opinion, hiring a trained professional is essential. I’ve seen more green water spas, clogged pool filters, and malfunctioning controllers than you can imagine.
We use a “Pool and Spa Addendum” that we have tenants sign when they move into a property with a pool or a spa. This is a very important form that gives the tenants rules and warnings regarding those items. This should be included in every lease as well as a conversation about pool safety before the move-in.
Making sure rental home owners do all they can, including calling their insurance company for adequate coverage, and preparing their pool and spa for safety and reliability is of the utmost importance. Tenants also have the responsibility of making sure they are aware of the dangers and take all precautions to make sure their family and friends are safe.