By Sandra Gottlieb, Esq., HOA Attorney and Condo Lawyer
As discussed in a previous blog post, our firm has received many inquiries regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) 2010 Revised Requirements as they relate to swimming pools, with a March 15, 2012 effective date. Do the ADA’s revised swimming pool requirements apply to your homeowners association? The good news is that nothing has changed from what was previously required and it is likely that these new requirements do not apply to most California community associations. We thought we would provide some additional details regarding these questions.
On September 15, 2010, under ADA Title III (“Title III”), The U.S. Department of Justice published revised, final regulations implementing the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (“2010 Standards”) for public swimming pools applicable to “public accommodations” (see Title III, Sections 242 and 1009). Compliance with the 2010 Standards is permitted as of September 15, 2010, but was not required until March 15, 2012.
According to the ADA Title III Technical Assistance Manual (“ADA Manual”), in order to be considered a “public accommodation” with Title III obligations, an entity must be private, and it must own, lease to or operate “a place of public accommodation.” According to the ADA Manual, “a place of public accommodation” is a facility whose operations affect commerce and fall within at least one of 12 categories. Bottom line, if your association opens itself up to the public, it may be subject to ADA and thus these new regulations.
Here are some examples of situations where a homeowners association would be considered to operate a public accommodation and, thus, fall under ADA regulations with respect to swimming pools:
1) A homeowners association sells memberships to their swimming facilities.
2) A homeowners association pool is used for swimming competitions that are open to competitors from outside the association.
3) A homeowners association actively rents out their units when owners are absent, including advertising, taking reservations over the phone, and providing either meals or housekeeping services. In this instance, the homeowners association would be considered a hotel.
As long as a homeowners association limits use of their swimming pool to residents and their guests, they would not be subject to 2010 Standards applicable to public swimming pools. Keep in mind this article only addresses the “pool” issue as it relates to the ADA and its possible application to your Association. There are other situations where inviting the public into your association and use of common area facilities such as designating your clubhouse as a polling place, or hosting the neighborhood boy scout meetings or inviting the neighborhood in for water or land aerobics could also trigger ADA applicability.
Questions about how the ADA requirements may apply to your association? Contact Sandra Gottlieb, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-372-2207.