Renting a House With a Pool
Landlord Station Renting a House With a Pool
Renting a house with a pool requires that a landlord deal with a variety of issues including swimming pool liability, maintenance, insurance and more. A swimming pool, spa or hot tub usually makes a rental more desirable to prospective tenants, but the liability issues make it necessary for you, as a landlord, to take additional steps to protect yourself and your property. There are several issues for you to consider when the property has a pool or hot tub.
When swimming pool accidents on a rental property include injury or death, there is plenty of liability to go around. Both the landlord and the tenant can be sued, and depending on the law, judgments can be awarded against all of the parties.
There are 3 classes of persons who can affect pool liability amounts when renting a house with a pool. The first is a guest who is invited to enter the pool premises for social reasons. This includes a tenant using the pool, or a party guest who was invited to a social gathering by the tenant. The second includes licensees. A licensee is a person who is allowed to enter the pool premises for business reasons, which would include servicing the pool. The third is a trespasser who does not have anyone’s permission to enter the pool premises. A trespasser, for example, jumps the fence to swim without the knowledge, or consent, of the tenant or the landlord.
Where renting a house with a pool liability is concerned, you owe a higher degree of concern for the guest or licensee than to a trespasser. Trespassers however, have been known to be awarded large judgments in court. Both the landlord and the tenant have liability to some degree. LandLordStation.com always recommends that you check with an expert in legal liability in order to protect yourself and your property.
A swimming pool requires a variety of mechanical systems. The pool equipment has an electrical system that operates the pump and any pool lighting. The electrical system requires regular maintenance by someone who knows how to operate this kind of system. A tenant may not be qualified to work on an electrical system, so we recommend that you do not leave this to the tenant. Hire an expert, or if you are qualified, perform the regular maintenance yourself.
There are a variety of local, state and even federal laws pertaining to swimming pool maintenance. You should acquaint yourself with local city and county laws that often mention fencing requirements, pool alarms, warning signs, gate locks and more. There is a federal law called the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act which requires that swimming pool and spa drain covers meet certain safety requirements. If the pool on your property was built prior to 2008, you may have to change the drain cover. If someone is injured or killed due to an older model drain cover, you can be subject to liability and to any other punishment under that federal law, including criminal negligence.
As a landlord, you should already have a liability insurance policy. Be aware that not all liability policies include swimming pool liability coverage. You may have to pay an additional amount to include any claims resulting from the “attractive nuisance” that pools and hot tubs can sometimes be considered.
In most insurance policies, certain safety and protective equipment, fences, locks and more must be present for you to have insurance coverage. Insurance covering pools or hot tubs require a high level of compliance. For example, if your insurance policy requires you to have a fence around your pool with a lock on the gate that is 5.5 feet high (beyond the reach of a small child), and you have the gate but no lock, your insurance company does not have to pay anything if a child opens the gate and drowns in the pool, because you are not in compliance with their requirements. Your insurance policy will require specific pool safety features, and in addition will state that the pool must also have all the additional safety features that are required by local, federal and state laws. We recommend that you consult with an experienced insurance representative who can help you get the required insurance to protect you and your property.
When Swimming Pool/Hot Tub Lease Addendum
LandLordStation.com offers a sample
Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Addendum that you can attach to your Lease Agreement. You can, of course, edit this agreement to reflect local, state and federal law as needed. This addendum outlines the tenant’s pool cleaning and maintenance responsibilities, and sets the safety guidelines you want the tenant to follow. Using this addendum may limit your liability in the event that an injury or death occurs related to the pool. It is important for you to have all of the adults in the tenant household sign this addendum. You can use the LandLordStation.com online document storage
option to electronically store the Lease and Swimming Pool Addendum.
Be sure to reserve your right to regularly inspect and maintain the swimming pool or hot tub without notice to the tenant. You will need to access the pool during business hours only to perform your maintenance duties and it is always a good idea to give your tenant notice that you will be inspecting. If you decide to keep a regular maintenance schedule, attach a copy of the schedule to the swimming pool/hot tub addendum.
If your rental property has a swimming pool, hot tub or spa, you have an obligation to stay informed, obtain the right amount of insurance, and inspect and maintain this property feature. What may seem like an abundance of caution can save you a great deal of money, and even save your property. If you have questions about renting a house with a pool, use the landlord information section, or consult with our helpful and knowledgeable staff of customer service representatives.