An open house is a great way to attract large numbers of potential buyers. With these large numbers however, comes greater responsibility in ensuring the safety of visitors on premises. Depending on the state you live in, the practitioner and the real estate brokerage may be liable for any accidents that occur during an open house.
And if your listing happens to have the added bonus of a pool, it is vital that both the homeowner and realtor cover all necessary water safety precautions leading up to the showing.
Home owners must comply with the Swimming Pool Safety Act of the California Health and Safety Code. The Safety Code defines a swimming pool as any swimming or recreational bathing over 18 inches deep, which includes hot tubs and spas. The act requires homeowners to have installed at least one of a selection of seven safety features on new or remodeled pools. Read more on the California safety codes here.
Local, state and federal regulations
Pool and spa owners and owners should follow local, state and federal regulations to ensure the safety of their open oasis. Currently, California does not require private pools to display pool signs. Most Orange County personal injury attorneys recommend, however, that residential pool owners take extra precautions throughout their open house to minimize liability.
Slip and fall injuries around pool decks are more common then you think
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 3,582 fatal unintentional injuries related to pools last year. Every year approximately 155,000 injuries occur in or around swimming pools many as a result of slip and fall injuries. Pool decks by their very nature have an inherent nature for slip and fall accidents because they are often slippery when wet. The law has specific requirements for swimming pool owners and operators to prevent slip and fall accidents.
· Appropriate floor surface: Making sure the right flooring is being used for each area of the property is important. For example, slippery tiles in the pool area is not nearly as safe or effective at preventing slip and falls as textured concrete. Making sure that each flooring surface is appropriate for the area it is intended is the best place to start.
The following are suggestions in optimizing pool safety during an open house:
· Notify all visitors on arrival that there is pool on premise and that they must supervise their children at all times.
· Have a sign stating “pool rules” regarding either parental supervision or an age requirement when entering the pool area.
- · Do not prop gates open on pools during an open house or during a showing.
- · Do stay with all families with small children during a showing.
- · Do keep an eye on the child and the water at all times.
- · Know CPR (attend a class), and CALL 911 immediately, when needed.
- · Have a portable telephone close by at all times
- · If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
- · Install a four-foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates.
- · Keep the pool covered