Demi Moore’s assistant had a pool party in 2015 at Demi Moore’s house where alcohol was served.
It was an unfortunate accident and Demi Moore, who wasn’t even at the party, is swimming in litigation.
It sounds so ridiculous it could be the plot of one of Demi’s erotica thrillers.
There are carefully outlined state safety regulations that you have to comply with if you don’t want to end up on the witness stand with Tom Cruise screaming at you.
In most states you are responsible for keeping your pool reasonably safe.
It doesn’t matter that it was Demi’s assistant who held the party. Demi owns the pool. Demi is responsible.
There are two ways you can be considered too lazy, cheap or careless to own a pool under the law.
First, you can violate a local pool safety law. In this case, you’re strictly liable, like Demi Moore.
Bring your death trap up to code. Find out what the law is and comply. Build a fence and put on a pool cover. These are the basics.
The second way in which you can be held liable for you pool is if it is deemed “unsafe”. This is trickier.
Broken fences, rusty nails, lack of depth markings. Once again, this varies, but I’m sure through the use of the computer you are using to watch this video, you can figure out your local regulations. I can’t type in a search for each of you, state by state, so you’re going to have to take a minute out of your next day by the pool and figure this one out for yourselves.
Here’s another issue, and this one is key. If you party by your pool and your friends enjoy drinking cocktails, you may want to consider hiring a lifeguard for the afternoon. Preferably a sober lifeguard.
It’s a small expense that may keep somebody alive. If the conditions at the party are deemed unsafe (SEE: Rooftop cannonball championships) you might be on the hook. Remember, like Demi, you might be liable even if you are not at the party so be sure that there are safety measures in play. It’s the summer time, so party hard. Just don’t end up paying for it.
Landlords. In short, if you own the pool, you are responsible for its compliance with safety regulations.
You need to bear this in mind when you consider tenants, but you also have to make sure that everything you own is up to those same safety standards.
Sorry fellas, but it’s not all collecting rent checks. Even trespassers can hold you liable if they get hurt in your unsafe pool.
Here’s a short summary of what you need to do if you want to avoid fishing dead bodies out of your pool and the costly lawsuits that come with it.
1. Comply with all safety requirements for your city and state. If you can’t afford them, you can’t afford a pool. But you’re a good little saver. Maybe next year.
2. FOR LANDLORDS: Include a clause or separate pool disclosure and waiver. That way if some fool wants to work on his swan dive after his tenth martini, he’s already assumed the liability at least in part. Your waiver should include the following:
— Tenants use the pool at their own risk.
— If there are tenants who cannot swim, you need a clause that says
they need to be supervised.
This should be a no brainer for parents of small children, but lets not forget that Darwin’s theories make provisions for the unfit. Unfortunately you still have to pay for the mistakes of the less evolved if they end up floating in your pool.
— State that the tenant is responsible for the safety and maintenance of the pool equipment and that they are required to inform you of any safety or repair issues the moment they arise.
— If the tenant is having guests, make them responsible for supervising the pool at all times. Demi Moore can afford a lifeguard, but just a sober person will do.
— Insure the pool. Tell your insurance agent about it. If they won’t grant you insurance, close the pool and get it up to their standards. Yes, it sucks paying for insurance. It sucks more losing your investment.
— Own your property under an LLC.
Losing your investment, as noted above, is terrible.
Losing your house is much worse.
When it comes to owning a pool, be PROACTIVE with your liability before you have to be REACTIVE.
Yes, there is work, responsibility and expense here, but you need to own a pair of big boy trunks before you go swimming in liability.
This has been a message from MONEY MATTERS.