Tenant installs swimming pool without permission

21 Replies

I was doing a property drive-by the other day and noticed one of those Wal-Mart variety 3' swimming pools in the backyard of one of our SFR's. I've never had a tenant install a pool before.

After consulting with my insurance guy, I approached the tenant and told him that he had 2 options; 1) Take it down immediately or we would, 2) Provide us proof of $1m in liability on his renters insurance policy.

Our lease is silent on swimming pools specifically but covers all improvements, which this should fall under.

Have any of you had a tenant put a pool up without asking? If so how did you deal with it?

Rick

Rick B.,
I'm going to bump this request, as I'm interested in seeing if anyone else has had this problem, and how they dealt with it.

Also, it is always nice to see another Ct., resident in the forums.

Raymond

Originally posted by Lynn M.:
Never had this issue, but couldn't the tenant just cancel the renter's policy the second after he gave you a copy? I would not be comfortable letting them keep the pool.

What if you require your name to be added to his policy and have the insurance company notify you of changes to his policy? That, or have him send you a receipt every month from the insurance company?

Is a portable plastic swimming pool an "improvement" to a property?

I specifically ban swimming pools, trampolines, storage sheds, firepits, hot tubs, and outdoor fireplaces in my lease. I would do the same as you if they don't comply and give a 'cure or quit.' I've never had it happen though.

Maybe someone else here will have experienced this...

Yes
had them take it down only to find out the old lady next door allowed it on her property. (No fence between backyards).
But Code requires a 4ft fence around anything deeper than 24".
(I always thought a child could drown in a lot less.)
Code enforcement finally had it removed after they attempted to use a 'snow fence' to meet the fencing code.
Our Ins cancels/boosts premiums for pools & if we buy a property with an above ground we tear it down a.s.a.p.

As far as tenant ins we often add their policy to the cost of our own, but in their name. We then add it into the rental cost. This way we know its in effect & we can dictate the coverage.

Or just eliminate all outside spigots, thats what I do. You can dictate all the liability that goes with it to the tenant but they will still continue using the pool with out you knowing. There is no law that says you have to provide an outside spigot.

Good advice, George. If you have to have an outside spigot for watering, get a faucet lock.

On the other hand, I've seen people in other places snaking a hose out from the basement utility sink. Determination knows no bounds 'til the cure or quit arrives. :)

Terminate the lease and have the tenant out - why would you want this liability on your hands? Someone who walks by after midnight and decides to go for a dip, accidentally drowns - guess who's on the hook?

I think that everyone like might an update. The tenant took down the pool within 24 hours BUT today I was riding around and checking on properties and found 3 more had popped up. In the process on having interesting conversations with all of them.

What did your insurance company say, does your insurance cover it? There may be another option, have the tenant sign a liability waiver, drawn up by your attorney. At our house (which we owned) our son and his friends along with some others we didn't know would practice Freestyle Motocross tricks (back flips, etc. they were pro riders) One of the fathers of one of the riders was also a personal injury attorney and he wrote up a liability waiver that we had parents sign, or the riders if they were adults. 

Before you go taking it down, you might want to check and see if that's legal. It could be a can of worms. 

Our lease prohibits swimming pools, trampolines and the use of grills on a porch attached to a building.   On all properties that we provide landscape services the landscapers are instructed to report on the presence of these potential legal and financial liabilities.   The local water department prohibits separate meters in multi-family properties.   Filling a pool can result in hundreds of dollars of water and sewer charges that will probably not be reimbursed.   We post an immediate notice to correct and then 3 day notice if they do not remove the attractive nuisance.   I tell the tenants they are renters not home owners, if they want the priviledge of a pool I will help them buy a house. 

UGH. Questions like this make my head hurt. I would rather have kids outside playing and enjoying life than sitting inside staring at a screen. Figure out how to protect yourself from liability and protect the property from damage. Then let tenants enjoy the property and live life the way they see fit.

If you're in a litigious state where this is too risky, sell the property and invest in an area that still respects personal freedom and personal responsibility.

This thread is very old.  I had a similar issue where the tenant had an above ground pool.  Apparently they have to be permitted in the county this rental was in.  I sent the tenant notice to take it down or take care of the permitting of which they did neither.  I was eventually cited by the county and a fee was attached to the title that I had to clear up prior to selling.  

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

UGH. Questions like this make my head hurt. I would rather have kids outside playing and enjoying life than sitting inside staring at a screen. Figure out how to protect yourself from liability and protect the property from damage. Then let tenants enjoy the property and live life the way they see fit.

If you're in a litigious state where this is too risky, sell the property and invest in an area that still respects personal freedom and personal responsibility.

 First of all, this thread is 7 years old, so it is fair to say the OP found a solution. For some reason these old threads pop up occasionally. Timely question given that it is summer and very hot in parts of the country right now.

I do agree with you on a personal level, that pools are great for kids to get outside and exercise. The trouble is from a business perspective, they are high risk. Some insurance policies limit depth of the pool to 18" or 30", so in that case if you have a deeper pool they could deny the claim. Some policies limit the dollar amount of the liability to something low like $100,000. Trampolines can be a similar situation. Sometimes pools or trampolines are allowed, but only if a fence is installed. There could also be city ordinances that come into play. In my city if the pool is deeper than 18", you have to have a 42" barrier around it. That could be a fence around the pool or around the yard. This is to keep small children from wandering into the yard, getting in the pool and drowning. Even if you are not in a litigious state, pools and trampolines are still dangerous and a liability concern. I would make sure the tenant signs a liability waiver and holds renter insurance to cover the liability. 

All, 8 years later...our leases now prohibit swimming pools, trampolines, and firepits. When we buy properties with pools (which we try to avoid) we tear them down. We require renters insurance before tenants are allowed to move in and we insist on being additionally named (or additional insured) on all policies so if they do cancel we will be notified.

Swimming pools for kids in Phoenix,  are you kidding!

Move and leave your property management rules and chill and enjoy the pool!

110 days over 105 Degrees!  last year!

Almost every backyard is fenced in this town. 6 foot brick walls around everything.  Your neighbor and kids are

not going to jump the walls.  ( they are to hot and tall ).

So chill " skinny jeans" and let kids be kids!  it's the tenants pool and it's the tenants kids!

Let them manage and parent their own kids and pool and responsibility and chill!

@David Avery in the late 80s when I moved to phoenix from the east I was appalled at how the pools were fenced right into the sliding glass door. At that time arizona was first in the nation for childhood drownings.   As a nurse at phoenix children's we saw a fair number of near drownings where kids were permanently disabled. When we left and rented out our house with a pool we erected a fence around the pool only but by law we didn't have to even have a fence.   Now I know when I came back things changed and there are more barriers required but people are still not cautious and kids are kids. Me, I would want significant liability coverage by the tenant if I allow because it is not just their kids it is guests  or any kid in the area. I had a brother drown at a young age so it happens. I know phoenix heat makes it a bigger issue in AZ but pools shouldn't be taken lightly. And people do climb those walls my AZ neighbor recently found a stranger swimming in his pool,

Most pools per cap in Arizona though!  Hottest weather per city in nation.  Parent shouldn't be parents if they can't watch their kids!  And put a pool up!!

One death is to many.  I agree with you totally!  Hopefully our great grandkids will still be able to swim!

Hopefully the stranger in pool enjoyed himself for a few minuets!!!   That would be an un comfortable encounter.