Pool It Together!
Whether you are purchasing your first home with a pool, finally adding a pool or just getting ready to throw your first pool party of the summer, pool safety is always important.
Florida has legislation that requires a contractor, licensed home builder or developer to provide certain pool safety information to a buyer building a pool or buying a home with a residential swimming pool. The information that must be provided outlines information on drowning prevention and the responsibilities of pool ownership. A buyer purchasing new construction or a homeowner wishing to add a pool should review the information provided and ensure they can meet the requirements below for pool safety features. It is important to note that there are penalties for non-compliance and the certificate of completion will not be issued until the inspection confirming at least one of the below safety measures are in place. Once installed, the safety feature must be maintained to remain in compliance with the statute.
Florida law currently requires a homeowner to have one of the following safety measures:
1. The pool must be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier requirements statutorily outlined;
2. The pool must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover;
3. All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm that has a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 dB A at 10 feet;
4. All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor; or
5. A swimming pool alarm that, when placed in a pool, sounds an alarm upon detection of an accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water.
While these requirements were put into place almost 20 years ago, they are not retroactive, meaning buyer’s purchasing homes with pools, spas or hot tubs that were installed prior to October 1, 2000 should not assume that pool safety measures are already in place. When considering the purchase of a home with a pool, a buyer should determine when the pool was installed to determine if the seller should have a pool safety measure in place. A seller who completed a seller disclosure does need to indicate the existence of any pool safety features that the seller is aware of which will provide the buyer with a starting point for their due diligence. If the seller is exempt from having them installed, a buyer may want to determine what their options might be should they decide to install a barrier, alarm or other mechanism after closing, especially if there will be young children living in the home.
Keep in mind the above safety precautions only apply to residential swimming pools, spas and hot tubs. As always, should you have any questions about what your responsibilities may be as a seller or what responsibilities you may inherit as a buyer please do not hesitate to contact your trusted local real estate attorney.
Natasha Selvaraj, Esq., firstname.lastname@example.org
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.
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