RealManage Insight

The Ultimate Amenity - Pool Rules and Challenges in your Community Association

by Steve Walz on Apr 22, 2021 9:45:00 AM

In a bid to attract affluent tenants to their locales, many homeowner associations are offering more amenities than ever before. Today, it's almost a requirement for an HOA or COA community to have certain amenities to remain competitive. A swimming pool is one of these amenities.

According to an infographic by Swim University, there are approximately 10.6 million swimming pools in the United States, 2.9% of which are commercial pools. More than 50% of the pools are in-ground pools, while the rest are above-the-ground pools.

Why Do HOAs Provide Pools?

Pools are the top amenity provided by homeowner associations and for good reason — they are among the most used and most important amenities to homeowners. According to CDC, swimming is the most popular recreational activity for children and teens.

If the above statistics are anything to go by, it's right to say that pools in community associations are not only excellent amenities that HOAs and COAs can provide to attract reputable residents, but they are also a valuable investment that guarantees high occupancy, increased resident satisfaction, and increased property values.

Preparing to Reopen Pools — Top Issues and Concerns

With spring upon us and summer just a few months away, HOA/COA managers are feeling pressure to reopen pools and other aquatic amenities like hot tubs, splash pads, and water playgrounds. However, there are several issues and concerns for community board members and managers to consider. They include:

  • Fear of Spreading COVID-19

Reports indicate that only 7% of pools opened as scheduled, while 41% of pools in community associations didn't open. 50% of those who manage pools in community associations cited that the fear for spreading the deadly virus was the main reason why they didn't open as scheduled.

The spread of the coronavirus is a concern not just for HOA/COA stakeholders, but it's also a huge concern for parents and swimmers. Considering that COVID-19 cases are still being reported and there's no way of knowing when the coronavirus pandemic will end, everyone is understandably concerned.

Why are people concerned? You may ask. Well, when people swim in the pools, they are often very close to one another, grasping the same pool noodles and holding onto the same ladders and rafts. The main concern people have is whether the deadly virus can be transmitted through pool water.

  • Pool Maintenance Costs

Maintenance is one of the important considerations when making a pool management plan. Another major concern for those who manage pools for community associations is the high cost of maintaining a swimming pool. According to research, spring pool maintenance costs can be as low as $1,000 per year, but they can sometimes exceed $5,000 in extreme cases when extensive repairs are needed.

  • Safety Hazards

Just like other public swimming pools, swimming pools in community associations present several hazards that may contribute to the risk of illness, injury, or even death. These include risks such as drowning, slips, falls, and trips.

Unsecured objects such as outdoor furniture, sunshades, umbrellas, and rescue equipment also present a risk as they can become projects in the event of strong winds. There's also an elevated risk of electric exposure.

Implementing Pool Rules in a Community Association Effectively

Everything about a swimming, from the building materials to the various chemicals and equipment used them, are subject to the scrutiny of different regulatory entities. This is to ensure that pool owners, operators, and contractors abide by rules and regulations laid out by the local, state, and federal governments.

So, how do managers and operators implement pool rules in a community association effectively? The following are some recommendations:

  • Adding bromine or chlorine to pool water helps lower the risk of spreading communicable diseases and viruses. The CDC says that it isn't aware of any scientific reports of the virus that causes COVID-19 to be transmitted to people through treated water in swimming pools and other aquatic amenities.

  • Encourage personal safety measures such as use of face masks, social distancing, and handwashing by patrons, staff, and swimmers.

  • Properly sanitizing common items found in a swimming pool setting.

  • Limiting occupancy of enclosed spaces, such as locker rooms and washrooms.

  • Provide supervision of patrons, supervisors, first-aid responders, and adequately-trained to kids and novice swimmers.

  • Provide signage or information regarding poolside safety.

  • Reduce safety hazards by installing sufficient non-slip surfaces around the pool and adequate lighting. You should also bond metal work within the pool area, storing toxic chemicals in a secure place, and removing or adequately securing loose objects.

With great amenities comes great responsibility. As such, HOA/COA managers should ensure that they follow government regulations and implement community policies to the latter to avoid liability.

Do Residents Have to Pay If the Pools in Community Associations are Closed?

The answer is yes. Living in HOA/COA community comes with rules, conditions and restrictions. So, when buying a home in a community association, you agree to abide with the rules in the community. According to SFGATE, you may have no legal recourse for not paying your community association's fees, even when amenities are closed. In some communities, HOAs refund homeowners part of their dues.

Do you need help with managing your HOA or COA? RealManage can help. We are a HOA management company that does all the management, so you can focus on what's important.

Contact us today for more information.