What Are Your Rights? Owning a Swimming Pool and Homeowners Requirements

Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti.

Moderator: Well, the weather is getting nicer, more people have water on their minds. Some viewers are wondering if there are requirements for swimming pools under New York law. What are your obligations as a swimming pool owner? To answer some of these questions is managing partner Paul Harding from the law firm of Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti. Paul, welcome.

Paul: Thank you. Good to be here.

Moderator: Thanks for being here. I’ll jump right into it. Are there requirements for swimming pools?

Paul: Yeah, lots of them. In fact, New York state building codes have lots of requirements for a swimming pool. What I found most fascinating is what qualifies as a swimming pool. If you have 24 inches of water in something you can wade in in your backyard, good news or maybe news, you have a swimming pool.

Moderator: Oh wow. Okay. So, what are homeowners required to provide if they have a swimming pool?

Paul: So, barriers are the key, right? We wanna keep the general public or animals and children from falling into the pool without going in the proper way. So, fences, any gate needs to be self-closing, and there’s above ground pools, even though they act as their own barrier because they’re tall enough, if you have a ladder that’s going in, it has to be removed or locked up every time you’re done with the pool.

Moderator: Are there any other requirements under the law?

Paul: So, big thing in 2016, major change. It required all pools to have what they call a sensor. When some dives into your pool or when the water is disturbed just enough, there’s gonna be an alarm. Not only at the pool, but also somewhere else, presumably in the house, required in every pool after 2016.

Moderator: All right, this one I’m really curious about. Can pool owners be held responsible for injuries that happen involving their pool?

Paul: If they violate the code, absolutely, or if they do what’s unreasonable, you know, letting somebody near that pool who shouldn’t be, generally it’s gonna be children or folks who are disabled. You do have a duty to make sure that it is safe around that pool.

Moderator: All right, well Paul, thank you so much.

Paul: Sure.

Moderator: We appreciate you being here, of course providing this helpful information.