Travelers have taken advantage of the Internet by connecting directly with people who want to rent their homes for vacations and overnight stays. But hosts who rent their homes through peer-to-peer or other online services can face liability in a premises liability lawsuit if a renter or guest is injured or drowns in a pool on their property.
First, property owners have a duty of care to their guests or renters. They may be held negligent by not evaluating risks on their property and taking reasonable measures to eliminate the risk.
Rental property owners face more challenges than other pool owners. They do not really know who is staying at their property, their ages, and their swimming abilities. They are absent while guests are using the pool. No lifeguard is on to rescue a drowning swimmer or assist an injured guest.
Also, absent property owners could have failed to keep current with updated regulations and rules or may be unaware of any damaged item. Pools may still be equipped with diving boards, slides, and noncertified flotation devices. Renters are usually unaware of the pool’s condition and these matters until they arrive on the property.
Diving boards and slides may be a liability risk. Guests are often unable to use these devices safely because of their experience, knowledge or skill. Some local jurisdictions may outlaw these features.
Owners face potential liability if their pools are not equipped with depth markers on all four sides of the pools. These allow guests to evaluate their and their children’s swimming abilities. Other warnings, such as no diving signs in the pool’s shallow end, are important safety reminders.
Pool toys and floats also pose risks. These may unintentionally encourage unskilled swimmers to use the pool. Flotation devices are not sufficiently effective if the U.S. Coast Guard do not certify them, lack proper instructions and are insufficiently buoyant. These devices may also be damaged.
Lifesaving pool rings, buoys, should be mounted on a surrounding wall or adjacent to the pool. Failure to have this equipment in good working order may be negligent.
A guest who is injured on rental property or their family may be entitled to compensation. A party seeking compensation needs to meet time restrictions for filing lawsuits.