We Need A Pool Lift?
Lanier Coulter, Esq.
December 17, 2012
questions about whether an association has to modify its pool
have come up due to changes in the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA). All
community associations have to be willing to make a reasonable
accommodation for residents upon request pursuant to the ADA, or
even if the pool isn't open to the public, the FHA. The
bigger issue in light of recent changes to swimming pool access
is whether a community association falls under Title III of the
Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Unfortunately, this
is a very difficult question to answer based on the current case
note, the 2010 standards under the ADA only apply to new pools
built after a certain date or to pools that undergo alterations
after that date.
community association pool is not technically subject to these
ADA standards unless it is open to the public. There are
several factors in determining whether the Association would be
viewed as open to the public. Here is what the Department
of Justice has stated in its questions and answers about a
pools that are associated with a private residential community
and are limited to the exclusive use of residents and their
guests are not covered by the ADA accessibility requirements. On
the other hand, if a swimming pool/club located in a residential
community is made available to the public for rental or use, it
is covered under Title III of the ADA. If a community pool is
owned or operated by a state or local government entity, it is
covered by Title II of the ADA, which requires "program
the Association's pool is used solely by members and their
guests, it is not open to the public and therefore not subject
to the public accommodation requirements. If the pool is
open to swimming competition where non-resident competitors are
on the community association swim team, then this would make the
pool open and require the association to comply based on the
Department of Justice's position outlined above.
Similarly, if the association sells non-resident licenses
to use the facilities it would be trigger the public pool
requirements for the association.
Open pools must be compliant with Title III of the ADA,
including, without limitation, the recent change regarding
access for disabled individuals. Currently the extension
date to comply for existing pools runs through January 31, 2013.
and penalties for a violation of the ADA are thousands of
dollars per violation. So, an economic decision may need
to be made by associations that want to permit outsiders to use
the pool (such as in swim meet competitions) as to whether to
become compliant and avoid any question about whether the pool
is subject to Title III of the ADA.
noted above, even if a pool is not open to the public, an
association may need to make a reasonable accommodation to a
disabled person in order to avoid liability under the FHA.
In addition, regardless of whether an association's pool is
subject to the ADA, the Association may find itself in a
position where it must defend itself against an ADA claim if its
pool does not comply with the standards.