Is My Condo Pool Subject To New ADA Standards?
Posted on April 2, 2012 by Joe Adams, News-Press.com, March 31, 2012
The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that “public accommodations” provide persons with disabilities equal opportunity to enjoy the premises.
In 2010, the Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the ADA (“2010 Standards”).
The 2010 Standards required that by March 15, 2012, all existing facilities of public accommodations, including pools, be maintained in operable, working condition, so that persons with disabilities have access to the pool whenever the pool is open to others. The 2010 Standards establish two categories of pools: large pools with more than 300 linear feet of pool wall, and smaller pools with less than 300 linear feet of wall. Large pools must have two accessible means of entry. Small pools are only required to have one accessible means of entry, provided that it is either a pool lift or a sloped entry.
A facility is subject to the ADA if it is a place of “public accommodation.” Pools at places of public accommodation must be retrofitted when it becomes “readily achievable” to do so. “Readily achievable” is accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. The 2010 Standards seem to imply that installing a lift or ramp is “readily achievable” for just about any facility, given the relatively low cost of the equipment.
On March 20, the DOJ issued a ruling extending the date for compliance with pool accessibility requirements by 60 days.
The application of ADA to a particular condominium, cooperative or homeowner’s association is a matter that should be individually and specifically discussed with the association’s legal counsel, and is simply not suitable for determination through a general newspaper column. In general, residential condominiums, cooperatives and subdivisions are not subject to ADA. However, a condominium, cooperative or subdivision that permits short-term stays and/or has the operational characteristics of a hotel, motel, or inn would be subject to the ADA.