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New ADA Pool Regulations Generally Don’t Apply to Associations

Recently, the US Department of Justice revised its Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) regulations regarding pools. These new regulations require that public pools have sufficient access for the disabled, including ramps or lifts. Some pool companies have sent notices to community associations informing them of the new requirement, but neglecting to inform the association that the ADA regulations do not apply to them.

These new pools regulations are found in Title III of the ADA. Title III of the ADA applies to private entities that operate places of public accommodation, such as a hotel or local health club. As neither the association nor any individual owner is operating a place of public accommodation, Title III does not apply. As a result, community associations, generally, do not have to comply with this new requirement.

On the other hand, if your association opens your pool up to persons outside the community, then the pool must comply with ADA regulations. For example, the hosting of swim meets, selling of memberships to people outside the association, or providing swim lessons to people outside the community are all “public” activities that trigger the ADA requirements. If your association is conducting these types of activities, then the association must comply with all ADA regulations, including pool, parking space, and restroom requirements.

Again, these new ADA regulations do not generally apply to Ohio community associations because the association’s pool is reserved for the exclusive use of the owners and their guests. If you believe that your association is conducting activities that may subject the association to the ADA’s requirements, contact your association’s attorney for further analysis and information.