The American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) generally does not apply to homeowner associations because most homeowner associations are not open to the public and thus, not included in the definition of “Public Accommodation.” However, there has been a lot of confusion about whether homeowner associations are required to obtain pool lifts because of the media coverage surrounding this new requirement of permanent pool lifts under the ADA. The ADA only applies to public pools so the new pool lift requirement would only apply to country clubs, golf clubs, timeshare developments, or hotels that are open to the public. Private pools such as the ones operated by most homeowner associations would remain outside of the ADA and NOT subject to the lift requirement.
The Department of Justice issued a stay in March, lasting until May 21, 2012, for the implementation or the installation of a permanent pool lift. There is now pending an additional extension to September 17, 2012, before hotel and club operators will be required to install a permanent pool lift. Additionally, legislation has been introduced to counter these requirements and only require a portable pool lift, which is what many hotels and clubs currently use.
If you have any doubt as to whether your association is open to the public and subject to ADA requirements, you should contact your association’s counsel to discuss this issue.