It's that time of the year again here in Las Vegas – pool maintenance issues. One of the leading issues we have in Las Vegas rental market is who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of homes with pools? Here at Robinson Realty & Management, we have derived our answer from 12+ years of experience! While ultimately the management and lease agreements should address pool maintenance, they do not take into consider long-term maintenance and prevention.
Regardless who pays the monthly maintenance bills, which range from $100 to $150 a month depending on size, location, and surroundings (by surroundings I am referring to the amount of foliage and dust in the immediate and surrounding 1 mile radius)? As debris falls into your pool this will eat up the chemicals and damage your filters. If you ask any pool maintenance company, the months between May and September are break even months at best for pool maintenance companies. The reason is simple; the cost of chemicals easily triples during this period and for homes with excessive trees, this is much worse and wreak havoc on the filtration system. Your pool maintenance company takes this into consideration when pricing their monthly service charge, plus they generally have quarterly or semi-annual charges to handle some of the more costly chemical treatments.
Two of the largest maintenance cost that owners will face every 2 to 5 years are:
Draining and refilling the pool to refresh the water. The usual indication for this is increased chemical requirements and aggressive algae buildup. When all your natural minerals in the water are depleted, it's time to change out the water. Here in Southern Nevada, we have one of the worst water sources in the country. In numerous reports, we rank in the worst 5 cities of the country. Most of these reports are based on drinking water, but the same reasons correspond with your pools. Southern Nevada lacks many of the minerals required for both health and water stability. Plus, we have very high levels of calcium that damage your pool, pool equipment, and the various faucets and plumbing equipment both inside and outside your home.
The typical cost to drain and refill a pool is roughly $300-$500 Plus, your water bill will increase from $40-$100 for that month alone. The should be the cost of the homeowner and the tenant should pay the increased water bill only. While this is upsetting too many homeowners, we like to remind them they typically receive an increased rent of $125-$300/month to cover both the pool maintenance, and items like this.
Changing out the pool filters and baskets. Depending on your system, this will cost anywhere from $400-$1000 and happens every 4 to 8 years depending on the outside factors as described above. This cost this is the responsibility of the homeowner, and not generally covered by a home warranty program. Home warranty companies tend to skirt the issue with small print and pass the blame onto the maintenance company.
Why should this be the cost of the homeowner you may ask? I like to compare these two issues to your A/C HVAC units or car maintenance. It is the resident’s responsibility for changing the air filter and basic $25 oil changes. But if you leave the 30,000 mile tune-ups to the resident, these items will be ignored or avoided and ultimately will fail on every second or third tenancy. These maintenance items ultimately save you from having major repairs. Many landlords wish to hold the resident responsible for the items mentioned above, but the ability to clearly document blame on a specific resident is very difficult in the court system. Since the deterioration is slow and not as evident as holes in the wall, weeds in your yard, or damaged flooring. However, some examples a resident can clearly damage the pool are by leaving personal debris sit in the pool, allowing their pets to swim freely, and not reporting issues in a timely manner. By doing this, the financial responsibility shifts to the resident and is very easy to document in case of legal action.
As a resident of Las Vegas for over 40 years, and have lived with the pool by entire life, I have personally seen all these issues develop with my own personal pools and personal rental properties. It's important to understand that any particular management agreement and/or lease agreement may not legally correspond with the above. So please don't utilize this blog as a legal reference for your personal situation to game advantage or skip out on your financial responsibilities.