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Splash into summer by hitting the swimming pool! Pools are the heart of the community in summer, and a great way to beat the Texas heat. However, for homeowners, condominiums, and cooperative associations (“associations”), the responsibility goes beyond just ensuring a good time. It involves creating swimming pool rules and regulations that prioritize safety and enjoyment while adhering to accessible and inclusive guidelines. 

Discrimination-Free Fun:

The Fair Housing ACT (FHA) prohibits discrimination based on various factors such as race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status, and disability in housing-related activities, such as HOA pool rules. This applies to rules that single out families with children or individuals with disabilities; to avoid potential issues, it’s important to create pool regulations that apply equally to all residents. 

Inclusive Policies in HOA pool rules:

Instead of creating age-specific rules that target children, consider crafting regulations that apply to all pool users. For instance, a rule prohibiting “balls, inflatable items, and water guns” in the pool area is more inclusive than one singling out children. As another example, a rule that requires all swimmers to demonstrate basic swimming ability or be accompanied by a responsible adult applies to all residents, regardless of age. When creating regulations for HOA pools, the focus should be on the behavior and safe use of the pool rather than the age of the users.

Accessibility for All:

Public spaces, such as swimming pools, must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means ensuring proper entry requirements and accommodations for residents with disabilities. Pool facilities, including spas and wading pools, must meet ADA design guidelines by including features like sloped entries, transfer walls, and accessible routes. Allowing assistance animals into the pool area in accordance with reasonable accommodation requirements under the FHA is another way to ensure equal access and enjoyment for everyone. 

Always Compliant, Keeping it Fun 

Creating HOA pool rules that align with anti-discrimination laws can be intricate. Consulting with legal professionals to ensure compliance is highly advisable— they can provide valuable guidance in crafting regulations that strike the right balance between safety, enjoyment, and inclusivity.

In conclusion, the summer pool season is a time for relaxation and fun, but it’s also a time for associations to ensure that their pool rules are inclusive and legally sound. By understanding the FHA, considering non-age-specific rules, providing reasonable accommodations, and adhering to ADA guidelines, associations can create an inviting and safe pool environment for all.