Having a pool on your property can be a great addition for both you and your tenants, but it also comes with additional responsibilities and potential risks. Not only do you need to ensure that your insurance covers the pool itself, but you also need to make sure that you have the proper liability coverage in case of accidents or injuries.
How do swimming pools affect landlord insurance?
Whether you already have a pool on your rental property or you are planning on installing one, be aware that swimming pools can have an impact on your insurance costs. This is mainly due to higher premiums due to:
- Increased liability risks. Pools can be considered a higher risk for landlords, as they may increase the likelihood of accidents and injuries on the property. It is therefore advisable to increase liability coverage if you have a pool in the rental property.
- Higher replacement costs. A pool would normally increase the value of the property and would factor in with the replacement costs. This would only apply for an in-ground pool though as an above-ground pool would be considered personal property and not part of the structure.
By how much will a pool raise your insurance rates?
The increased insurance costs pools can cause will mainly depend on the size and quality of the pool and the area where you live. As this can vary greatly, it's better to go straight to your carrier to get the most accurate information rather than trying to estimate this based on other properties.
Are landlords liable if there is an accident related to the pool on the rental property?
The answer to this question is not clear-cut and highly depends on the situation. In short, the answer would be yes, landlords can be liable for accidents related to pools on rental properties.
If a tenant or guest is injured in a pool on the property and it can be proved that the landlord was aware of a dangerous condition and failed to address it, or if the landlord failed to provide adequate warnings or safety equipment, they may be held responsible. The exact level of liability will vary depending on the specific laws and circumstances of each case.
It is therefore vital for landlords to maintain the swimming pools at their rental properties and make sure that all necessary safety precautions are taken. It is also important for landlords to work with their insurers to understand the specific requirements and coverage options for properties with pools.
Are there any federal or state laws regarding pools on private properties?
As of 2023, there are no federal laws concerning privately owned swimming pools. Several states however have their own laws pertaining to privately owned pools, among them are Flordia, California, Texas and Arizona. If you live in a state with a warmer climate where private swimming pools are common, it’s a good idea to check if there are any laws or regulations specific to your area.
In California, the following laws and regulations are set forth by the state:
- Building codes and permits - before construction or modifying a swimming pool on the property, you must get a permit from the California Building Code (CBC) and follow their standards for design and construction
- Fencing requirements: All swimming pools in California must be surrounded by a fence or barrier to prevent access by children and other unauthorized individuals. The fence must be at least 4 feet high, with no gaps or openings that a 4-inch sphere could pass through. Gates must also be self-closing and self-latching, and the latch must be out of reach of children.
- Safety Features: Swimming pools must also be equipped with safety features such as pool covers, alarms, and safety signs. Pool covers must be capable of supporting the weight of a child and must be removed or secured when the pool is in use. Alarms must be installed on doors and windows leading to the pool, and safety signs must be posted in a visible location near the pool.
- Maintenance and Cleaning: The CBC requires that pools be cleaned and maintained in a manner that minimizes the risk of illness or injury.
Texas and Florida have very similar regulations to California, while Arizona, the state with the most residential swimming pools per capita, requires the fence/barrier to be at least 5 feet tall. If everyone living at the property is at least six years of age, you are exempt from implementing these regulations. As laws and regulations are subject to change, it’s important to check with your local legislators to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.
What kind of safety regulations does a pool require?
Pools are considered to be an “attractive nuisance” by insurance companies. While they can be great fun, they also come with added risks. According to the CDC, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4.
As a landlord, you will not be present at the pool in your rental property. Landlords may be responsible for conducting regular maintenance checks of the pool and ensuring it is in good working condition to avoid any accidents. It can be wise to list some safety regulations as part of the lease agreement. Below are some examples of safety rules that can be included:
- Supervision: Children or non-swimmers should never be allowed to be near or enter the pool without supervision. This means having an alert adult within arm's reach of the child at all times,
- Fencing/Barrier: Pools should be surrounded by a fence that is at least 4 feet high. The fence should have a self-locking gate that is kept closed and locked when not in use. This will help keep children and pets away from the pool when it's not being used.
- Drain Covers: Pool drain covers should be secure and in good condition to prevent entrapment. If a drain cover is loose or missing, do not use the pool until it has been repaired.
- Pool Cover: A pool cover can help prevent accidents, especially if the pool is not being used. A pool cover should be securely fastened when the pool is not in use, and it should be removed before swimming.
- First Aid: A first aid kit should be kept near the pool and someone who knows CPR should be on hand in case of an emergency.
- No Running: Running around the pool is not allowed. This can increase the risk of slipping and falling, which can result in injury.
- No Diving: Diving should only be done in designated diving areas, where the water is deep enough. Diving into shallow water can cause serious injury.
For more safety guidelines, you can visit swimmingpools.com or watch the video below to view a professional pool inspection