As a landlord and investor in the South (it gets hot here!), there are plenty of houses with pools.
But it’s not a standard amenity as in one of the traditional backyard pool states, such as California, Florida, or Arizona.
When I’m looking for rental properties, if I see one that has a pool, I run the other way.
But not everyone feels as I do. Pools, particularly in hot climates, are a desirable feature that can earn you more rent money.
So what’s the catch?
Here’s a primer on the six things you need to consider before you rent a house with a pool.
1. You’ll Win Some and You’ll Lose Some
Trulia conducted a survey in May 2015 and found that having a swimming pool was one of the top five features of a Millennial’s dream home. The same goes for Gen-Xers who like pools, too.
So, a pool could be a definite selling (eh, renting) point for many renters.
But families with small children might not be comfortable renting a house with a pool, and older people typically aren’t interested in pools, either. So you might have difficulty renting to those groups if you have a pool.
2. You Might Be Liable for Injuries
This is a big deal! What if someone drowned in the pool?
The person who drowned could be a guest of your tenant. (If there’s a pool, there’s bound to be pool parties.) The person could be your tenant, the person could be the pool maintenance person, or the person could be a trespasser who entered the pool without permission.
If you have a rental property with a pool, you must have a fence that surrounds the pool and that has a self-closing gate that locks. Other safety measures include a pool cover that latches, and an alarm that sounds when there’s movement near the pool.
It’s also important that you speak with an expert in legal liability to find out the best way to protect yourself if an accident happens in your pool. This expert can also let you know what all the federal and local laws are regarding pool safety.
3. The Maintenance
If you don’t maintain the pool, it’s not going to keep that lovely shade of blue for long. And maintaining pools requires lots of work: skimming, vacuuming, adjusting chemicals, cleaning the filters, and chlorinating.
You can do this regular weekly chore yourself, or you can hire (more expense to factor into your bottom line) someone to do it for you.
If your tenant is experienced in maintaining pools, you might want to consider letting him maintain it, but make sure you’re satisfied that he knows what he’s doing and that he’ll keep up with the job. You’ll probably need to check on this yourself … you don’t want the pool to go neglected. It can be expensive to clean and fix a neglected pool.
4. The Extra Insurance
Call your insurance agent pronto. You’ll need at a minimum $1 million worth of liability coverage if you have a pool. Make sure that your regular liability coverage covers pools. If not, you might need to pay more.
Your insurance agent can advise you on this. And if you don’t have the required safety equipment set up, your insurance likely won’t pay out.
If you don’t have an LLC set up, you might want to do so. The LLC protects your personal assets if you’re sued. The LLC’s assets would still be subject to attack, however.
5. Add an Addendum to Your Lease
Spell out the rules of the pool that you and your tenant sign in an addendum. Here, you can list whether you or your tenant is responsible for maintenance duties.
You should include that it’s the tenant’s responsibility to notify you immediately if something is wrong with the pool or the fence surrounding it.
Let the tenant know that she’s responsible for repairing or replacing anything she might have damaged.
6. Consider an HOA with a Pool
When you buy in an HOA neighborhood, you need to determine the monthly HOA dues and add those into your overall cost estimate to find out whether the property will be profitable. You’ll need to get enough in rent to cover the HOA dues, basically.
The upside is that if the community has access to a pool, you’re providing your tenants with this amenity without having to maintain or insure it. Keep in mind, however, that if there were a drowning in the HOA pool, all the homeowners are liable to pay any financial obligations that exceed the HOA’s insurance coverage.
You have the right to see the HOA’s financial statement before you buy in an HOA neighborhood.
As you can see, it’s easier to just say “no” to a pool. But, depending on where you live and what the expectations are for having a pool combined with the increased rent you stand to collect, it’s not always an automatic “no.”
What About You?
Do you have a pool at your rental property? Let us know your experience!