As an HOA or community association leader, one of your many tasks is to enact policies that guarantee the safety of your constituents.
You most likely have your CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions) in place, and you’ve carefully aligned your bylaws with your association’s needs.
But now that summer is finally here, you may want to take a second look at your community center’s Rules and Regulations.
When your association was formed, you may have drafted these to cover everything else that your CC&R’s and your bylaws didn’t.
These Rules and Regulations cover the purpose of and use of your community center facility including neighborhood pools, clubhouses, and any registered sports teams that practice there.
Why your HOA should define its Rules and Regulations
If you don’t have association Rules and Regulations already in place, now is as good a time as ever to learn why they’re so important.
As a community grows, it’s demographic changes.
When this happens its necessary to adapt or amend your rules to suit the new members of your community.
For example, if you’re noticing more families with young children move into the area, you may want to change your pool rules to reflect that children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Here are some tips for association Rules and Regulations you may want to consider developing for your community pool or clubhouse this summer.
Suggestions for HOA pool rules
Don't ban children from the pool
It may be tempting to rid yourself of any potential liability by banning young children from the pool, however, you may find yourself in hot water with your residents.
Instead of restricting the pool to adults, make sure that young children are accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.
Keep in mind, that 16 and 17-year-olds can be certified lifeguards, so the age limit for adult supervision must be lower.
Be mindful of your restricted hours
Often, an association will enact a rule restricting children from entering a pool between certain hours.
If you want to do something similar, be sure you aren’t choosing hours when the kids are most likely to be at school. After all, you want them to be able to enjoy the pool, but you also want adults to have quiet time.
Consider removing restrictions on children and give adults an “Adult Swim Hour” throughout the day.
Accommodate disabled patrons
Some community pools ban wheelchairs and animals from the pool deck as they can be hazardous and unsanitary, respectively.
However, if you ban the only way for certain members to access the pool, you may potentially face a discrimination lawsuit.
Suggestions for your community center or clubhouse
Stick to capacity
Members of your organization might want to rent the space out for a party or events, but it’s your job to ensure that the number of guests stays under max capacity.
Going over the limit could result in a citation, safety risks, and a number of other consequences that go beyond your association.
Make rental space available to all members
Some associations restrict religious, political, or other groups from gathering at the clubhouse – even when those groups are members of the community.
Association rules differ across communities, but it is recommended to make your rental areas available to all, despite affiliation, unless the purpose of their meeting negatively impacts others.
In this case, you need to be crystal clear in your Rules and Regulations, lest you find yourself discriminating against groups of people.
Clearly outline hours of operation and patron use
Don’t leave anything up to interpretation.
List your hours of operation as well as any consequence of being in the clubhouse after hours.
Some associations reserve the right to revoke use of the clubhouse following a violation of the rules, but that is up to your discretion. It is also recommended to enforce strict rules when it comes to unaccompanied minors as it could result in a safety issue.
Final words on HOA regulations
Remember, every restriction and rule can be changed.
Since there’s no way of knowing what the needs of your community truly are – most association leaders put their Rules and Regulations to a board vote with a subsequent review by community members.
Having a voting process in place is crucial for developing policies that benefit your association and keep them safe.
For more information on how to incorporate a voting solution into your community, check out our Associations page.