Common Exemptions for Condominium and Cooperative Associations do not Apply to Homeowners’ Associations.
The Florida Department of Health enforces regulations on public swimming pools. While community association pools are generally not open to the public, its likely they are considered public pools for the purpose of compliance with Chapter 514 of the Florida Statutes and Rule 64E-9 of the Florida Administrative Code.
The Florida Administrative Code defines a "public pool" as basically any pool that does not qualify as a private pool. Section 514.011, Florida Statutes defines a private pool as a facility used only by an individual, family, or living unit members and their guests which does not serve any type of cooperative housing or joint tenancy of five or more living units. Condominium and cooperative associations have the benefit of the exemptions set forth in Section 514.0115 which say:
Pools serving no more than 32 condominium or cooperative units which are not operated as a public lodging establishment shall be exempt from supervision under this chapter, except for water quality.
Pools serving condominium or cooperative associations of more than 32 units and whose recorded documents prohibit the rental or sublease of the units for periods of less than 60 days are exempt from supervision under this chapter, except that the condominium or cooperative owner or association must file applications with the department and obtain construction plans approval and receive an initial operating permit. The department shall inspect the swimming pools at such places annually, at the fee set forth in s. 514.033(3), or upon request by a unit owner, to determine compliance with department rules relating to water quality and lifesaving equipment. The department may not require compliance with rules relating to swimming pool lifeguard standards.
Unfortunately, these exemptions do not mention homeowners’ associations. Even condominium communities (with more than 32 units) must comply with new safety requirements and must remember to apply for renewal as required by the code.
Enforcement of the revised pool regulations has put a strain on some community associations, such as the Rose Garden Villas in Lee County where the residents will have to spend over $200,000 on rebuilding costs. Community leaders question why it is necessary to comply with these stricter requirements after the pool has been open without incident for years and years.
The government may require reasonable changes in existing buildings in order to comply with new requirements and standards for the protection of health and safety of the public, regardless of the fact the buildings complied with the applicable codes at the time of construction. Nonetheless, not all regulations are retroactive and variances are available in the appropriate circumstances. If your community faces this dilemma, its a good idea to discuss whether you can appeal a denial of an exemption or obtain a variance.