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Swimming Safety Is Required By Law

Attorney: Anna Greenstin Kudla | Published 6.14.18

The new Pool Safety Act which came into effect January 1, 2018, sets out to require common-sense and cost-effective pool modifications in an effort to prevent drowning fatalities across the state. If you are involved in the sale and transfer of property, California requires owners of a residential swimming pool or spa to have at least two specified drowning prevention safety features.

Legislative History

California’s original 1996 Pool Safety Act required private swimming pools to be equipped with at least one specified approved safety measure; a permanent fence, compliant pool cover, door and window alarms, and self-closing door and window devices. In 2006, the law was amended to include two more pool safety barriers – an ASTM F 2286-05 compliant removable mesh pool fence and an ASTM F 2208-08 pool alarm to the list. Now, the 2018 amendment requires newly permitted private pools to be equipped with at least two out of seven compliant separate safety features.

The seven safety features a homeowner may choose from, include: (1) height appropriate enclosure; (2) regulated removable mesh fencing; (3) approved safety cover; (4) exit alarms; (5) self-closing latching devise; (6) water alarm; (7) “other means” which include verified standards established by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Specific details related to each of these choices may be found in The Swimming Pool Safety Act Section 115929.

Parties Effected

The Pool Safety Act affects home inspectors as well as buyers and sellers. Bus. & Prof. Code, as amended on October 11, 2017, specifies that an appropriate inspection of real property with a swimming pool or spa must include a noninvasive physical examination of dwelling for the purpose of identifying which, if any, of the specified drowning prevention safety features the pool or spa is equipped, and requires that the information be included in the home inspection report.

In addition to the inspection report typically conducted on behalf of potential buyers, the residential property transfer disclosure statement requires the seller to indicate whether the property has a swimming pool with proper security measures. The party required to pay for the installation of the safety measure on an older home may be a matter for the realtors to negotiate on behalf of their individual principals.

What To Expect Now

Since this is a relatively new law that has come into effect, escrow officers are foreshadowing lenders will pay special attention to pool safety measures, much like they require smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors pursuant to appraisal inspection reports. Furthermore, certain municipalities send inspectors to residences purchased with pools to confirm safety compliance. The Orange County Drowning Prevention Task Force has long since launched a drowning prevenient campaign where owners planning to construct or remodel a pool are required to submit three sets of plans with specifications. Strict measures are aimed at one main concern, to reduce drowning among children.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice, as each specific situation needs to be evaluated based on its specific facts.