A recent item in the Community Associations Institute’s news bulletin reports that the U.S. Justice Department has extended the deadline requiring public pools and spas to provide handicapped access in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Modifications must now be in place by January 31, 2013.
The ADA’s new accessibility standards apply to all pools, wading pools and spas that are defined as places of “public accommodation” and require that most standard pools have at least two accessible means of entrance, such as lifts and/or sloped entries, to better accommodate people with disabilities. While these requirements will not apply to private pools, some homeowners associations (HOA) who make their community pools available to the public may be liable for completing modifications in accordance with the new deadline.
Modifications in compliance with ADA standards are required if HOAs make their pools available to the general public, such as through the hosting of swim meets, public lessons, or special events for the general public. If HOAs make their pools available for community events without requiring a rental fee or receiving any monetary gain, it is unclear whether there is an obligation to modify the pool, and the guidance of legal counsel is suggested. Professional legal guidance on a case-by-case basis is also recommended to determine whether the ADA standards apply to related facilities, such as restrooms, fitness centers, saunas, club houses, media rooms and the like.
According to ADA guidelines, there is no requirement to modify pools that are open only to residents of the association and their guests.
To read more about the ADA pool accessibility standards, click here.