Does Your Condo or HOA Need to Install a Pool Lift?

April 5, 2012 by David C. Swedelson

Blog post by David Swedelson, Senior Partner at SwedelsonGottlieb, Community Association Attorney; Condo Lawyer and HOA Attorney

We have been receiving calls and emails asking whether California condo, planned development, or stock cooperative HOAs are required to comply with a 2010 change in Federal law that requires that pool lifts be installed at public pools. We are hearing about this now because there is a deadline for their installation.

Have not heard about this pool lift requirement? The 2010 changes to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) for public pool facilities require public pools to be more accessible for disabled persons. Small pools must have at least one accessible means of entry, either a lift or sloped entry. Larger pools must have two accessible means of entry such as a lift, sloped entry with handrails, transfer wall with grab bar, transfer system with steps, or accessible pool stairs. Slope entries and lifts are by far the most common.

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According to an article by Florida Community Association lawyer Lisa Magill (follow this link), “the major complaint against compliance seems to be cost." The article said that permanently affixed pool lifts could cost about $10,000.

Do Condos & HOAs have to comply?

As we have reported (here) previously, the ADA does not apply to most homeowner associations. As Lisa points out, "[a] first issue for an HOA/condo is whether the association pool is 'public' under the ADA. ADA applies to public pools and FHA (Fair Housing Act) applies to private pools. If condo/HOA pool use is limited to owners and guests of owners, it’s likely the new ADA pool requirements will not apply. Remember, private condos & HOAs must allow reasonable accommodations for owners or residents with disabilities — but that is completely different than the ADA law.”

Lisa goes on to say: “However, if the condo is a resort condo (such as a timeshare), a hotel condo or the association rents out the pool for public events or non-members (swim meets or competitions, use by a camp or school, fees to allow use by non-owners, etc.), the pool is probably subject to the ADA requirements. If your association fits into any of these categories or you're not sure if your pool is considered a public pool, get a legal opinion from your association attorney.”

Have questions as to whether your association’s pool is considered public and a pool lift (among other things) is required? Contact David Swedelson via email: dcs@sghoalaw.com