By Beth Mulcahy, Esq.

Does your board have a resident or vendor who likes to “prop open” the pool gate to make access to the association pool easier?

If so, for safety and liability reasons, your board should take a proactive stance regarding the improper propping open of a gate/fence. First, your board should consider adopting and enforcing a rule stating that propping open the pool gate/fence at any time is prohibited. The association should notify homeowners and all vendors (i.e. pool companies/landscapers who might prop a gate open) of rules/policies prohibiting propping open of a gate/fence in writing (i.e. letters, newsletters, etc.). Our firm also suggests that a board post sign(s) at all pool gates and in the pool areas stating the safety rules including the rule that propping open the pool gate/fence at any time is prohibited; also state that these rule(s) were enacted to protect the health and safety of all residents/guests; and that violators will be fined after notice and an opportunity to be heard for a violation. The Board should also notify residents of the “no propping the pool gate” rule in newsletters, and on the association’s website and bulletin board.

If the association’s CC&Rs allow the board to revoke residents’ common area pool privileges for violations of the rules and regulations, our firm suggests that the board revoke pool privileges for violations of pool safety rule(s). Additionally, we suggest that the board research an alternative to deter owners from propping open the pool gate. An effective method is to install a gate alarm. When attached to the gate, the alarm creates a loud beeping noise if the gate is propped open. This can be an annoyance to owners living near the pool so the board will need to weigh the pros and cons of a gate alarm vs how serious this issue is at your association.

Have a great summer and be safe!