Temporary pools in rentals

23 Replies

Hey folks,

I'd like to get input on those investors with rentals in regards to their tenants having those temporary (usually inflatable) pools in their yards.  You know the ones they sell at the box stores?

I never gave it much thought when my tenant got one, but then it broke - so he got another one (which was slightly bigger), and then that one got damaged, so he got his current one.  When I showed up to do some maintenance today I was suprised to see a 500+ gallon pool, complete with operating filter, in the backyard.  The pool is probably 2 ft high and maybe 10 feet in diameter.

For context, this is a small multi-family with a shared yard.  (Some may remember my post from last week about the tenant complaining about other tenants damaging the pool, however I'm not sophisticated enough to know how to link that thread here.)

I currently don't have anything in my leases about this, but am considering it.  If my insurance agent found out, I am sure I would get levlied a surcharge at the very least; not to mention my increased water bill (local custom landlord pays).  If you do have a lease that addresses these "temporary" pools, do you limit the size or exclude them outright?

Thanks in advance!

That sounds like a really strange situation that I'd never even think of. Do you have anything in your lease regarding maybe installing semi-permanent structures in common areas (i.e., the backyard)? 

Yep, liability out the wazoo. I don't know what you can do without already having something in your lease, but I would absolutely try to get a "no pool" policy in place ASAP. I have never dealt with pools personally, but now that I have a property manager  I know they say "no pools" in the lease and will even go as far as to puncture inflatable pools and put them in the dumpster if they are found on the property. Sounds harsh, I know. But if ever there was an "attractive nuisance" that could endanger neighborhood kids, it's a pool. Most big multiplexes that cater to families have gone over to "splash parks", i.e. fountain/sprinkler type water features that do not involve water of any depth.

Thanks for your feedback!

I think I am going to let things go this year (since we only have 3 more weeks of the pool season here in upstate NY), and over the winter - long after the days of summer are behind - send an ammendment to tenants ( all MTM) that pools will be henceforth prohibited, citing insurance and city code issues.

Yep - lawn will be toast, high water bills, flood potential, liability, drama -  'that little kid next door just peed in my pool'.    I would blame my insurance and get it removed @Wesley W. !

 This is not just a liability ,  it is a real safety risk.  Especially if there is no fence and locking gate  to protect small children from access. They are not routinuely emptying it.  They may not be watching kids to keep them out.  The soft sides are easy to breach.    Kids drown every day and a near drowning kid can be disabled for life.  I am not trying to scare you but isn't a theoretical risk or a broken arm or leg. It is devastating.

A pool of this size I wouldn't allow as they are actually less safe then a fully fenced regulation pool.  Check your local regulations on fencing of pools and your insurance. You may just find they are already  breaking a local ordinance you can cite regarding enclosures.

And you pay the water bill...if the above isn't enough reason.

@Account Closed

 They are good tenants otherwise, yes.  They are a MTM lease, so I will just add an amendment over the winter so there is no question.

Thanks everyone for your continued feedback!  Someone once told me that your lease agreement will be continually updated as tenants find loopholes.  Guess this is one I missed.

P.S.  I saw the box the pool came in today; it measures 30" deep and 12 feet across.  Good grief!

Get rid of the pool today.  You do not need a lease that specifically mentions a pool.  You are liable today for the drowning of the other tenants child that happens tomorrow.  It sounds like all your tenants have access to the pool now. 

If you want to be a nice guy at least require you pool people to pay for a fence that complies with local ordinances and have them pay for an insurance policy that covers them and you.

@Wesley W.

Get rid of that pool ASAP! Of course summer is almost over here too, tough judgment call, but it is a huge liability waiting to happen. Even though its not your pool, its your property. If some neighbor kid went in there and something bad happened, you would be in trouble, not the tenant. Our state laws do not favor the landlord at all, but you probably already know that. Also New York state code requires at least a 4 foot high fence around the pool, if thats not there and someone from the town happens to drive around and see the pool, they could fine you. Not to mention the 500 gallons of water you will be paying for when the bill comes out!

Honestly I would have never thought a tenant would go through the expense of putting up an above ground pool in a rental. I would have never thought to put a 'no pool' clause in the lease, thanks for sharing the story! I once had a hot tub in a rental but I got rid of it, didn't want to risk the liability plus I know the tenants never did the maintenance on keeping the water clean. 

I sent a letter to them yesterday, giving them a week to take it down.  Not unexpectedly, they were not happy and are "looking for new places."  I checked with the municipality, and it's definitely a code violation.  My insurance almost certainly has an exclusion for the pool, and I cringe when I think about the impending water bill.  They filled 3 pools this season.

I am glad to hear it.    Many people will be unhappy about being told they can't have the pool but this is one place where safety is first.  People can go on about  mold and lead and other health hazard but those are manageable over time.   It only takes a minute of not looking even for good parents.

I use a rider that specifically prohibits inflatable pools of any size. One tenant took the term "small inflatable pool" as the Ok to install a giant pool that could have easily fit 4 cars inside it, and took up the entire shared yard. His response was "well, it's inflatable".

If that thing had burst it absolutely would've flooded the basement, and the basement of the neighboring property. The stray cat issue may have been cleared up though, so I guess there could've been a silver lining.

So, here's the update:  I sent them a notice via email and text asking them to take it down within 10 days (Aug 18th).  (I was away on vacation, so did not make a stop in person.)  They did, but were clearly not happy.

I stopped over yesterday (they were away on vacation for several days as well, apparently) just to "clear the air" and explain why it needed to be taken down.

Ironically, I got a call after leaving the property from another landlord checking their references, so it looks like they are moving over this issue - even though they haven't given notice yet, and didn't mention it during my visit.  I didn't mention the pool issue to the new landlord, as they didn't ask anything other than whether they paid rent on time.

Hey, Wes. I am in upstate as well and was posed with a similar question. I cited my town "pool checklist", which requires a permit and inspection for any pool over 24" deep, which there's is. I also referenced a statement from my attorney and insurance agent as well as the fact that the lawn would be damaged, the water bill would be higher, and that I would be responsible for any accidents that took place. Yet to hear back from the tenant - lol.