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Subject: Is a hot tub considered an above ground swimming pool?
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KevinM16
(Maryland)

Posts:5


07/23/2019 9:08 AM  
Our covenants have language that states permanent improvements such as decks, etc installed on lot must be approved by ARC. Covenants also state that “No above ground swimming pools shall be placed or be permitted to remain on any lot.”

A homeowner has asked to place a portable self-contained plug in hot tub on their covered concrete porch.

The chairman of the ARC has stated that a hot tub is an above ground swimming pool.

Is the chairman correct in his interpretation?

As background the ARC voted to a 2-2 tie at their last meeting.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:86


07/23/2019 9:16 AM  
NO
AugustinD


Posts:1905


07/23/2019 9:31 AM  
This has come up here before. I think people will reasonably disagree on the question of whether a hot tub is also an above ground pool. Given the latter reasonable disagreement, I would be considering (a) whether the tub is visible to other lot owners and (b) that the location is not in the yard per se, the way an above ground pool normally would be. Instead it is on someone's porch. I am leaning towards okaying it.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1422


07/23/2019 9:54 AM  
A portable hot tub is not a permanent feature as well. Everyone knows the definition of "above-ground swimming pool" vs a hot tub.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


07/23/2019 11:21 AM  
He doesn't know the difference between a hot tub and a swimming pool???? Except for a very small child (who shouldn't be in a hot tub anyway), who the hell would try to swim in one? Does your committee actually have to ask this question???

If the ARC chair or anyone else on that committee is concerned about the hot tub, all he/she needs to do is ask the appropriate questions and use some common sense. For example, if there's a concern is that the plug might not be enough to prevent flooding, ask about that and then make a decision instead of coming up with a stretching of the CCRs to find a reason to deny it. If you take another vote and there's a tie (assuming the president has a vote instead of serving as a tie-breaker), send the matter to the board for a final decision.

KevinM16
(Maryland)

Posts:5


07/23/2019 12:56 PM  
Surprisingly, he is claiming that it is a swimming pool because building code includes hot tubs in the same chapter as swimming pools even though hot tubs are addressed separately as different because they are self-contained.

Other folks have heard him say that he doesn't want the development to become a "hot tub community"
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6606


07/23/2019 1:26 PM  
How could "portable" and "plug-in" be synonymous with "permanent?" why would one member of the ARC be able to interpret the language etc,. for everyone else?

Are you on the board, Kevin? It seems to me the board will have to make the final decision. Usually committees don't have the final word on this type of request do they?
KevinM16
(Maryland)

Posts:5


07/23/2019 1:40 PM  
I'm actually the owner. The chairman is on the board. I'm sure I'd prevail in court but why go there for something that should be clear. Unfortunately, the board is composed of a group of friends that have been in the development since the first house were built. I bought the second to last unit.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8503


07/23/2019 5:25 PM  
Ask your insurance company. It does matter with them if you have a "pool" or a "Hot Tub". We had a few who had them. There is noise considerations to consider. Maintenance is an issue. Not everyone upkeeps a hot tub.

I would say it is more like a portable above ground kiddy pool...

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8650


07/23/2019 5:29 PM  
Kevin

Other folks have heard him say that he doesn't want the development to become a "hot tub community"

So there is your answer. Accept or fight. How to fight you ask?

1. Get the BOD to agree to your hot tub.
2. Hire an attorney and fight them.
3. Run for the BOD and make changes.

Real simple. Your choice.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:145


07/24/2019 4:05 AM  
Why did you ask, it isn't permanent and it isn't a swimming pool. I would ask an attorney to review the HOA documents and provide his opinion in writing. If the attorney states it isn't permanent and isn't a swimming pool I would send a copy to the Board and inform them you were placing a hot tub where you want.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3658


07/24/2019 4:45 AM  
Is it possible that there is another clause in your documents that gives the ACC the authority to disallow hot tubs?

Or is it possible that the BOD already got an opinion from the HOA lawyer on this issue?

What a bozo Prez says isn't always accurate.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8503


07/24/2019 4:48 AM  
May I ask what your response would be if your neighbor wanted to install a Hot tub?

Former HOA President
KevinM16
(Maryland)

Posts:5


07/24/2019 5:20 AM  
I’d be happy to have it if the met all building code requirements and covenants if it were permanently installed.
KevinM16
(Maryland)

Posts:5


07/24/2019 5:24 AM  
Only if it a a permanent improvement. That would only occur is it were below ground or possibly if the interpretation of attached to the structure included a hardwired electrical connection as is used for 220 V tubs.
TimM11


Posts:299


07/24/2019 7:04 AM  
What is a "hot tub community", anyway? I've never heard of such a thing.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


07/24/2019 7:20 AM  
Good question – I haven’t heard of them either! The closest I can think of are those honeymoon hotels I used to see advertised in bridal magazines. Most of them were in the Poconos and I think many of them have closed due to competition or whatever.

That said, I think I agree with John – if the ARC committee won’t approve your portable hot tub, file an appeal with the board and make your argument. If the ARC chair mentions this hot tub community business, make HIM explain what that is and why he thinks to allow yours will start some sort of domino effect (especially since it isn’t even permanent).

If the board still says no, you’ll need to consider how far you want to go with this because it may wind up with your attorney dueling with theirs, which will take more time and money (is your hot tub worth all that? Only you can answer). You can also consider running for the board yourself, although you may need to bring more to the table than this hot tub issue.
ND
(PA)

Posts:341


07/24/2019 7:40 AM  
While you Pres might base his whole argument on his perception that one hot tub in the neighborhood will open the floodgates to lots of people wanting hot tubs, that simply won't happen. Maybe a few hot tubs will wind up in the neighborhood over time . . . but who really cares?!?

Perhaps you can improve your overall ARC request/design and likelihood of approval by also incorporating acceptable items (fence, landscaping, hedge, arborvitae, etc.) that will adequately screen your hot tub and people using it from view by any neighbors or by anyone on the street in front, next to, or behind your home. If nobody can see it, then hardly anybody will know it's there.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:772


07/24/2019 11:56 AM  
A hot tub is billed as a swimming pool under building codes across the board. In my HOA an owner installed a small half in ground half above ground 2' from his shared block wall. It set off a big poop storm over liability if that pool caused any flooding to the neighbors.

Are you installing a soft sided hot tub or is it solid? There are many plug n play models of hot tubs available. Honestly I would get a doctors note stating a hot tub is medically necessary for therapeutic reasons.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3177


07/24/2019 5:48 PM  
Posted By LetA on 07/24/2019 11:56 AM
A hot tub is billed as a swimming pool under building codes across the board.

Florida Statutes and Building Code agrees.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6606


07/24/2019 9:57 PM  
But the CC&Rs says nothing may be "permanent." Kevin's wouldn't be.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16448


07/25/2019 6:36 AM  
In my opinion, a hot tub is not a swimming pool.

This sounds like something the Board will have to make a decision on, as it can be argued either way.


ND
(PA)

Posts:341


07/25/2019 7:02 AM  
In my opinion:

1) hot tub EQUALS pool >> when discussing building codes, code enforcement, ordinances because they are constructed similarly and have similar attributes (hold water, electricity in proximity to water, utilized by people, require access prevention/restriction, etc.) for which the codes/ordinances exist as rules for construction in order to protect public health, safety, welfare.

2) hot tub DOES NOT EQUAL pool >> when discussing intended functional use of the item and aesthetic impact.

Obviously you can pick and choose what definition to use based on your side of the argument; however, in my opinion, the HOA should generally only/mainly be concerned with definition 2) above regarding aesthetic impact of the the improvement being debated. HOAs don't or perhaps shouldn't get involved in discussions on what is or isn't allowed per code since that is not an HOA area of expertise and is also an area where those who do have knowledge need to be consulted anyway (e.g., to install a pool, one needs to first obtain a permit for which plans need to be submitted, reviewed, and approved . . . to ensure compliance with codes).

Would be good to see the entirety of the relevant sections of the OP's docs to make a more complete assessment, but in my opinion, hot tub does not equal pool aesthetically/functionally and since hot tub isn't specifically called out as having any sort of restrictions, then OP should not be prevented from installing one as long as other pertinent rules are adhered to as well (perhaps screening from view of neighbors or street).
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3177


07/25/2019 2:07 PM  
Chapter 515 of the Florida Statutes provides some definitions, including:

"“Swimming pool” means any structure, located in a residential area, that is intended for swimming or recreational bathing and contains water over 24 inches deep, including, but not limited to, in-ground, aboveground, and on-ground swimming pools; hot tubs; and nonportable spas."

I think the above ground hot tub is a swimming pool, by definition (FS 515.25). I'd first ask a lawyer about that. There has to be some case law and precedent-setting Appeals Court decisions, especially in Florida.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3177


07/25/2019 2:09 PM  
There's also a definition of a "Portable Spa" and FS 515.25 says a non-portable spa is not included in the definition of "Swimming Pool". So I don't know.
JohnH38
(South Carolina)

Posts:71


08/02/2019 9:27 PM  
Sir:

Hot tubs are SPAS and are not considered above ground swimming pool in most if not all municipalities code.

If in ground and not above ground temporary structures, they will typically be allowed especially next to an in ground swimming pool and fenced in for safety.

Thanks.
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