Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time for pool season. Maintaining the perfect oasis is about more than just warm weather and water. Creating a safe, positive environment for residents to escape, unwind, and make cherished memories requires an ongoing process of routine checks, equipment upgrades, and meticulous planning.

Any community association with a pool needs to have a good pool policy. According to Crystal Gill with Arriel Pool Services in Colleyville, Texas, association boards should consider including or addressing the following components in their pool policy: 

  • Proper swim attire must be worn.  
  • No alcohol. 
  • No glass. 
  • No smoking or vaping. If it isn’t posted, members will do it. 
  • No electrical devices near the pool. 
  • No swimming during inclement weather. The standard is to evacuate members and guests from the pool and facility if lightning is within 10 miles or less.  
  • Guest Policy. It needs to be specific.  
  • Teen Policy. At what age can a teen swim/enter the facility without an adult?
  • Entrance requirements. Must have a working pool card and proper ID that reflects the homeowner’s listed address. 
  • Clean up. Members and their guests are required to clean up after themselves. This helps maintain the facility, furniture, and prevents paying for additional porter or janitorial services.  

Elina Gilbert, an attorney with Altitude Law in Lakewood, Colo., has additional tips for building an effective and comprehensive pool policy that ensures the community is protected and residents are safe to swim.

Behavior-focused rules. Crafting rules based on behavior rather than personal characteristics is essential to avoid potential violations of fair housing laws, says Gilbert, who is a fellow in CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers.  

For instance, rules can focus on conduct such as no running on the pool deck rather than imposing age-specific restrictions. Don’t specifically mention toys, children, or adult swim. Don’t adopt rules that can’t be enforced and expose the community to liability,” she says. Public pools can specifically mention children because they are not a housing provider.” 

Lifeguard guidelines. If your community hires lifeguards, Gilbert recommends communities ensure they are certified and that there are enough to cover pool hours and size. This ensures an inclusive and non-discriminatory approach to rule enforcement. 

Swim at your own risk policy. Adopting a swim at your own risk policy helps mitigate liability concerns for communities without lifeguards, according to Gilbert. This policy places the responsibility on individuals using the pool and reduces the association’s liability in the event of an incident. Clear signage communicating this policy is important to ensure residents and guests are aware of the risks. The association should have no role in protecting people using the pool,” she says. 

Proactive enforcement mechanisms. Establishing clear enforcement mechanisms for rule infractions is vital, according to Gilbert. She says determining who will enforce the rules, how infractions will be handled, and whether the enforcement mechanisms are realistic and effective in advance ensures consistent rule adherence. 

>>Read more about planning for a successful pool season in “Just Keep Swimming” from Common Ground March April 2024.

  • Hazel Siff

    Hazel Siff is associate editor at CAI. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara's communication department and worked as a student journalist at both UC Santa Barbara and Santa Monica College. Hazel has worked in print media, on multiple podcasts, and on a YouTube show. Originally from Western Massachusetts, she has spent the last several years living in Southern California.

  • Joni Lucas

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