Q&A: What Could Happen If Our Condominium Association Does Not Hire Lifeguards?

Q:  Our condominium association has a swimming pool and every year we hire lifeguards for the pool season even though there is no ordinance that requires the association to have lifeguards. This year the board is contemplating the need for lifeguards.  If the association does not hire lifeguards: Will it impact our insurance costs or our ability to obtain insurance? Will it increase our liability? Are there steps that should be taken by the association to further protect the association?

A:  Before your association switches from lifeguards to no lifeguards, the association should contact its insurance broker and/or general liability insurance carrier to discuss the issue. The carrier may want to inspect the pool and/or review the protocol that is being proposed by the association. The carrier may or may not require that liability releases be signed by all owners and/or tenants prior to any use of the pool. With respect to the imposition of potential liability upon the association, this can occur with or without lifeguards being present. Some safeguards the association can take include, but are not limited to:

  1. Adopting written “Pool Rules and Regulations” and disseminating same to all owners and tenants for approval (by way of a signed acknowledgement) prior to permitting them to use the pool. The Rules and Regulations should clearly provide that no lifeguards will be present and that the pool is a swim at your own risk facility;
  2. Restricting access to the pool area by way of a key-card gate access system or some other practicable method that is readily available to the association;
  3. Not allowing minors access to the pool area without a responsible adult present; and
  4. Conspicuously posting large and easily visible “swim at your own risk” signage around the pool area in various locations.

These recommendations are by no means exhaustive and the association should contact its legal counsel to review the issue.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of Community Assets, published by the Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley Chapter of Community Associations Institute.

Edward Hoffman, Jr., is a shareholder in the Litigation group at Fitzpatrick Lentz and Bubba, P.C. Mr. Hoffman frequently speaks to industry trade groups, boards, property managers and management companies about community association topics. Mr. Hoffman has represented Community Associations in the following Pennsylvania counties: Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Pike, Susquehanna, and Wayne. The law firm has been named "Who’s Who in Business Lehigh Valley" each year since 2008, and was ranked as one of the 100 Best Places to Work in PA in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Contact Mr. Hoffman at 610-797-9000 or ehoffman@flblaw.com.

Q:  Our condominium association has a swimming pool and every year we hire lifeguards for the pool season even though there is no ordinance that requires the association to have lifeguards. This year the board is contemplating the need for lifeguards.  If the association does not hire lifeguards: Will it impact our insurance costs or our ability to obtain insurance? Will it increase our liability? Are there steps that should be taken by the association to further protect the associatio

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