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Dear Patty - Pool Service

Wednesday, July 18, 2012  
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Dear Patty:

I often have property owners ask if they should provide pool service and include the cost in monthly rent, or if they could save a little money by allowing the tenants handle pool care. How should I advise them?

--Not Swimming in Money

Dear Swimming:

That’s a very good question, and one I hear more and more these days. The best option is to advise your property owner to include a pool-care service with monthly rent. However if your owner insists on allowing tenants to assume responsibility for pool care, a very specific pool-care addendum to the lease is a definite must-have.

Times are tough and both property owners and prospective tenants are looking for ways to save every penny they possibly can. While wanting to save money is surely understandable, terminating pool service is not the best choice of areas in which to cut corners.

Well-meaning property owners and well-meaning tenants may both speak of "pool care," but their ideas of exactly what constitutes pool care (and appropriate responsibilities) may differ greatly. That difference has the potential to cause a world of trouble when the first pool problem rears its head.

Let's say your property owner agrees to let the tenant handle pool care themselves, the tenants agree to handle pool care in return for a great rent price, and you leave it at that. Things are going swimmingly until the pool pump breaks and the pool's water progresses from blue to green to brown.

The tenants’ interpretation of pool care probably extends no further than an obligation to add chemicals once a week. The property owner, meanwhile, probably believes the tenants are fully responsible for any and all pool-related issues. The result is that each believes the other is responsible for the expensive pool pump repairs.

Oops. Now you've got a problem and you will likely have either unhappy tenants or a disgruntled owner. That's never a good thing, so while clarity may be achieved by drafting a lengthy pool care addendum at the lease's inception, the best solution is to include pool care with monthly rent.

Advise your property owner that whether a home is tenant-occupied or whether the owner lives in it, the pool regardless belongs to the owner. It's an investment that adds value to the home, and is one well worth protecting. The money that an owner spends on continued monthly pool service is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that the investment is in good, competent hands.

Good luck,

--Patty

"Patty the Property Manager” appears courtesy of the ORRA Property Management Subcommittee. Readers are invited to submit property management related questions to Patty by sending an e-mail to education@orlrealtor.com.

The ORRA Property Management Subcommittee provides this property-management advice column as a service to ORRA members. The column is intended to provide a general understanding, not as a substitute for individual legal consultation. The column should not be relied upon in specific situations without consulting a real estate attorney.


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