Q. I have heard that our condo association might now have an obligation to install a handicap lift in our community pool. Is this really the law?
A. Your association may have this obligation depending on the ability of the public to access and use your community pool. The American With Disabilities Act (also known as the “ADA”) now requires a private facility to install handicap lifts in the swimming pool if there is public access to the pool or if the residential units are a place of “public accommodation”. Hotels are an obvious example of facilities that would be subject to this ADA requirement. Even though hotels are privately owned, the general public is free to rent rooms and use the hotel swimming pool. The hotel must therefore install a handicap lift. Condo associations generally operate private residential communities, but in some communities there are short term rentals, timeshares, rental offices and other services that are consistent with public accommodations. Further, if your association has no leasing restrictions or permits leases of less than 30 days, it might be considered “public” for the purposes of this ADA requirement. If you are an HOA and your association hosts swim meets or water aerobics classes that are open to the public, your association might be obligated to install a handicap lift. If you are concerned that your association might be required to comply with this law, you should immediately encourage your board to contact its legal counsel.