Tenant wants a pool and is willing to pay for it.

9 Replies

I have a tenant who asked me if she could install an above ground pool in the backyard. The backyard is kinda crappy, so it wouldn't physically hurt anything. I'm obviously concerned about the liability and the increase in insurance premiums.

I spoke with my insurance guy, and he told me our liability insurance alone will increase by around $850 per year. I haven't checked into the property insurance yet. 

The tenant told me she is willing to carry renters insurance that covers the pool and add my company as a beneficiary, as well as pay $100 or so more per month in rent to cover my insurance costs.

I'm still leaning towards no, just because of the liability and complications. But it may be worth it if she becomes a long term tenant. She has only lived there since April of this year. However, she has been a great tenant so far. I'd love to hear some outside perspectives on this.

@Matthew B. . I think it depends on your market. I see you are in Florida and a pool would seem really appropriate at a property in that area I would imagine. In NJ where I am from I would never install a pool even if a tenant was willing to pay above and beyond what the cost of the pool is. I am terrified of the potential liability and especially if there were children coming over and if there was no supervision it could easily become a disaster. It also does not make sense in NJ because we get about 3 months per year of pool weather. I would say check the comps and what is included. If most rentals have pools and if its very common there than I would consider it.

NO WAY NO HOW. because one day your tenant will move out and then you will have this big liability sitting there unwatched.

What if your next tenant doesn't want a pool? or even worse doesn't maintain it well and then expects you to pay for the repairs??

Then if you decide to get rid of the pool you will have quite the hassle getting it out and then a large dead spot in your yard.  

And just for good measure... Liability is a Mofo.

There was another post just like this recently in the forums. Everyone on that post voted NO as well.

The liability, the additional upkeep. Who owns the pool when the tenant leaves? Is she going to repair the damage to the yard when the pool is removed? 

Lean harder toward 'NO', @Matthew B. .

@Matthew B.

I wouldn't install it because of the liability factor. Furthermore, you are in the REI business and not the pool business.

There are lots of other tenants out there, so, if she decides to move on so be it. You may want to talk her into going to a Y, beach or other places that accommodate swimming.

Good luck and don't feel that you are compelled to respond to the tenant's wishes.

No. It sounds like you are trying to justify it by saying "if" she becomes a long term tenant. There will always be tenants even if there isn't a pool in the yard. No.

I think you have to consider it from the point of view of your market, rather than your tenant. I know *a lot* of rental properties in Florida have pools, which is understandable given the climate. Does not having a pool put you at a competitive disadvantage? 

Where I live, I wouldn't own a rental with a pool, but that is more because of the limited climatic opportunity to use the pool coupled with the maintenance, upkeep and repairs associated with pools, as well as my market's indifference (and sometimes outright hostility) towards pools. In the grand scheme of things the insurance & liability aspects should be minor factors; millions of people have pools, including rentals - that's what insurance is for (you are heavily covered, right?). 

I guess what I am trying to say is if the pool makes sense from a marketing viewpoint, you should be considering putting it in yourself, irrespective of the tenant. If you don't need it to keep your place rented, you shouldn't put it in just because the yard is ugly and the tenant wants a pool. 

I've owned homes with both above ground and below ground pools. Here's the thing, caring for a pool isn't always easy even for pool professionals. 

I'm in So Cal so I get that a pool can be an attractive amenity. But caring for an above ground pool brings on a new dimension to pool ownership. Because of the materials used in the construction of above ground pools, mainly the plastics, it can be more difficult to maintain a healthy water balance. 

And unless someone is really committed to caring for an above ground pool it can become a swamp in no time flat.

Should you tend to agree to allowing the tenant to install a pool I would contract for pool maintenance as the landlord so you retain maintenance control and then amend her lease or rental agreement to recapture the increased cost for both the insurance and the pool service contract.

I'm with most everyone else to say that it's a bad idea...for all the reasons everyone is listing. Make sure to think even further than liability though and think about exit strategy on that property too. Would a pool being there make it harder or easier to sell later? Pools oftentimes can have an adverse effect on sellability. 

However, if you do think about doing the pool, I would highly recommend forcing some more out of your tenant...aside from the costs...make her sign a longer-term lease! Take the extra $100/month, but also have her sign a new lease for say like 5 years. Because the worst will be if you install this pool (I can't even imagine how much that will cost...unless you are planning for an above-ground) and she leaves after a year and now you have the extra insurance cost, liability, and who knows what it could do for new renters. Make her really commit, since that is the whole argument for doing it at all. Put it in lease form.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here