Ask ROC-NH: Swimming pools, swing sets, and volunteers
By Zachary Palmer
Zach Palmer fields your questions about ROC life and management.
Zach answers your burning questions.
Why do some co-ops not allow swimming pools? Should they?
A swimming pool is a huge liability for any homeowner or, in a cooperative’s case, commercial business. Co-ops that have pools must enclose them with a fence and have a volunteer present at all times that it is open. If an accident occurred, the co-op’s insurance premium on the cooperative would skyrocket.
Although some co-ops allow members to have kiddie pools in their own yards, they still have strict rules such as: water must be dumped out every night and an adult must be present. Check with your insurance company and attorney for any regulations or liabilities the co-op may need to consider.
Should ROCs allow children's swing sets? If so, what regulations should they consider?
“I believe the children are our future.” I don’t know why Whitney Houston said that. They’re stuck behind a LED screen too much nowadays, in my opinion.
A few ROCs have playgrounds, and they’re safe and enjoyable spaces for existing and potential new families in those communities. The routine inspection and maintenance of a playground is the responsibility of the cooperative. But swing sets and other playground equipment could be a liability, so check with your insurance company and attorney for any regulations or liabilities the co-op may need to consider.
Are co-ops legally liable for volunteers working on projects? What is best practice for boards in handling this?
In most cases, the co-op is not legally liable. A volunteer is someone who is knowingly and willingly donating their time and skills for a specific purpose. In resident-owned communities (ROCs) it’s usually a project within the park or perhaps driving a document to the property management office.
In both cases the member should sign a Volunteer Liability Waiver, which you’ll find in ROC Docs of the Management Guide or can get from your technical assistance provider. This waives the co-op’s liability if anything were to go wrong.
Zachery Palmer is a ROC-NH™ Housing Cooperative Specialist.
ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider.
ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.