For certain tenants, a swimming pool can add great appeal to a rental property.
They might envision themselves hosting neighborhood barbecues near the water, spending an afternoon relaxing on a raft in the pool, or helping their kids learn how to swim.
Plus, a swimming pool can add to the value of the property overall, allowing you to charge a higher rent rate.
However, it’s important for you, as a landlord, to fully understand the risks associated with renting out a property that has a pool.
If you decide to do it, you’ll need to comply with several laws and take extra precautions to protect yourself from being sued or landing in financial trouble.
Read on to discover everything you need to know!
What Landlords Need to Know Before Renting a Property with a Pool
1. You could be held liable for injuries or deaths that occur due to the pool.
Regardless of whether you live in Cumberland County, Dauphin County, Anne Arundel County or a different part of Maryland, you’ve undoubtedly heard stories on the news of people, especially children, becoming injured or drowning due to swimming pools.
What you may not know is that, according to the CDC, drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4, and it is the 5th leading cause of death by accidental injury for people of all ages. So, it’s easy to understand why a property with a pool can be risky – both for you and your tenants.
In fact, you can be sued or face a wrongful death lawsuit if a guest (someone who has been invited to use the pool for social reasons) or licensee (someone who is invited to enter the pool premises to service it or for another business reason) suffers an accident related to the swimming pool.
Sometimes, trespassers (people who enter the pool area without anyone’s permission) have even been known to sue landlords for injuries sustained in a property’s swimming pool!
So, make sure you take precautions to prevent injury or death due to swimming pool accidents, repair/maintain the swimming pool as needed, and follow all of the laws that apply to you to save yourself from financial and legal trouble.
To protect your tenants further, consider giving them a pool safety brochure/sheet as a part of their welcome package when they move in – especially if they have small children. It’s a great way to show that you care about their well-being and inform them of ways to stay safe.
On a related note, keep in mind that landlords are also liable for injuries/deaths that happen due to things other than swimming pools, including:
- Failure to repair something that could endanger a tenant
- Carelessly fixing a dangerous problem
- Hiding a dangerous condition from the tenant
To avoid being held liable, simply inform your tenants of any problems with the property, fix those problems, and quickly resolve any other dangerous issues that your tenants bring to your attention.
2. You may need to pay extra for insurance to cover swimming pool liability.
As a landlord, you should already have a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers liability to a certain degree. However, if you purchase a property with a swimming pool, you should also buy additional insurance coverage because of the risks associated with swimming pools.
If you have any doubt about exactly what you need, talk to an insurance expert who can help you choose the right coverage.
3. You must follow Maryland pool fence laws.
In Maryland, residential swimming pools must be surrounded by an adequate barrier to help ensure safety on the pool premises. So, you’ll need to make sure a fence is installed around the swimming pool.
Keep in mind that county-specific laws may determine the required height and specifications of the barrier. For example, Prince George’s County law states that fences placed around swimming pools must be at least 6 feet high. On the other hand, Anne Arundel County requires swimming pool fences to be at least 4 feet tall, and those fences must all comply with the local building code.
Because pool fence laws can vary widely from county to county, it’s important to research your local swimming pool laws whether your property is in Annapolis<, Fort Meade, or another Maryland city – you don’t want to accidentally break the law simply because you weren’t aware of the requirements!
And don’t just stop at researching the pool fence laws that apply to you – look up the other laws that apply to you too! You may be required to post warning signs, provide pool alarms, or take other actions before you rent the property.
4. You should add a swimming pool addendum to your lease agreement.
If you rent out a property with a swimming pool, add a swimming pool addendum to the lease agreement.
Not only will this help you protect yourself from liability – it’s a good opportunity to educate your tenants on their responsibilities as far as the swimming pool premises.
Here are a few things you’ll want to tell your tenants in the body text of your swimming pool addendum:
- They are using the pool premises at their own risk, and you (the landlord) cannot be held responsible for injuries sustained by tenants, guests, or occupants of the property.
- They must notify you immediately if a repair is required.
- You will handle some of the pool maintenance tasks, but other everyday pool maintenance tasks will require their attention (be clear about which tasks apply to which party so there is no confusion in the future).
- They must use the swimming pool in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- They must keep the fence around the swimming pool area secure and keep the gate locked at all times.
You’ll likely want to add in other terms about pets, evictions (in case they break the lease terms), and more. Check your local laws to customize the document based on what is required.
When you’re done creating the swimming pool addendum, make sure your tenant signs and dates it after reading it thoroughly. Then, make a backup copy of the addendum on your computer as soon as possible. This extra step could come in handy if you misplace your paperwork and need the document to avoid being sued!
Tip: Check out this page to view a sample swimming pool and hot tub addendum – you can use it as a reference when creating your own!
Though renting a property with a pool can be risky due to liability issues, it may be worth the added property value and desirability if you are willing to adhere to swimming pool laws, handle certain maintenance tasks, and keep your tenants safe.
If you want to rent a property with a pool but don’t want to handle the property management tasks associated with that property, consider professional property management services from Bay Management Group.
We can take care of maintenance, eviction services, rent collection and many other tasks.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help, contact us today!