The Texas Property Code requires rental property owners to install and maintain some routine safety features in their homes, including deadbolts and peepholes on doors. There are also requirements for properties with swimming pools.
We recommend doing more than the minimum legal requirements. Offering a pool with your property is a great way to increase your rental income and attract great, long-term tenants. But, it also comes with risk. We require owners with pools to have a maintenance contract in place with a pool company; this is crucial to minimize costly repairs due to tenant neglect.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to swimming pools and your Killeen residential rental property.
Pool Enclosures and Barriers
It is important to understand safety requirements regarding pools that are in place for your local area. Many Texas municipalities have established ordinances requiring property owners with a private residential pool at their rental property to have a fence, gate, or other barrier around the pool that is at least four feet high. In many cases the fence cannot be a chain-link fence or made of any materials that leave gaps or openings more than four inches wide. Check the bottom of the fence as well to ensure small children cannot crawl underneath.
Additionally, many cities require that your pool gate must close automatically, on its own and self-latch. And, you may be required to lock it with a padlock, combination lock, or a built-in keypad. The latches should be high on the gate to prevent unauthorized access by children.
Installing Alarms on Pools
In addition to the enclosure requirements, some Texas cities require the installation of an alarm on the doors and windows that open into the pool area, particularly if it’s the house walls that serve as a boundary to the swimming pool. This alarm will notify your tenants anytime someone enters the pool. Some ordinances require that any bypass feature for this alarm is installed high enough on a wall near your doors or windows so that children cannot reach it.
Above ground pools are less common, but they can come with their own set of requirements from cities. Steps or ladders leading into the water may be required to lock or be removed so unsupervised access is restricted.
Maintaining Pools at Killeen Rental Properties
A good pool company will ensure the pool is clean and the water is chemically balanced. You don’t want to run the risk of damaging your pool with low water levels or algae. Most pool companies will charge between $155 and $255 per month for an ongoing maintenance contract, and this can seem expensive if you’ve always maintained your own pool. However, it’s part of your risk management plan when you’re renting out a home, so include it in your management budget.
You can also expect your tenants to take some responsibility for the pool costs. After all, they’re the parties using the pool. You can include part or all of the pool maintenance costs in your rental amount. You can also write something into your lease that requires tenants to keep an eye on water levels and to maintain the safety and security features of the pool. You’ll also want to require that they provide access to your pool maintenance company.
Renting out a property with a swimming pool is not uncommon in Texas, where summers are long and hot. Our recommendation is to take extra safety precautions and to ensure tenants are educated on pool safety.
If you have any questions about maintaining your pool or your Killeen rental property, please contact us at Shine Residential Management.