Above-Ground Pools Spark Concerns From Neighbors, HOAs

August 6, 2020

Above-ground pools have become a hot commodity this summer as more families seek “staycations” in their backyard during the COVID-19 pandemic. As many community pools and beaches remain closed, many households have added an above-ground pool to their backyards.

But neighbors are concerned. If one springs a leak, it could flood nearby properties.

Tyler McSparin in Kansas City, Mo., recently posted on Twitter about his neighbor’s newly installed above-ground pool. He has concerns. “My estimate is that it holds about 60,000 pounds of water,” he recently wrote on Twitter. “And it is directly uphill from us. I sure hope those braces hold!” McSparin is still quick to note that he is pro-pools for neighbors.

Pool retailers are seeing a surge in business. Leslie’s Poolmart Inc. told The Wall Street Journal that by May, the company had sold out of many of its 30 above-ground pool models. It is fielding four- to six-week back orders as demand tripled over the last few weeks. The above-ground pool options sell for $400 up to $9,100. Big-box retailers also report that above-ground pools are flying off shelves this summer.

However, some homeowner associations are viewing these pools as “cheap” and are concerned they can pose a potential hazard and could hurt home values, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Several homeowners in the Country Cove Homeowners Association in Altoona, Iowa, which covers about 240 homes, are requesting that the HOA relax its ban on above-ground pools for the summer due to the pandemic. But not all are in agreement. “What we are trying to do is mandate people who are serious about a pool, they meet city codes, get permits and are not going to cause damage,” says Jessica Olson, a homeowner and whose husband is on the board of the association. “Not a $200 pool with 700 blowup tools.”

Some HOAs, like the Winding Creek Homeowners Association in Woodbridge, Va., that covers about 400 homes, have temporarily waived their restrictions on inflatable above-ground pools in backyard pools for just one year. “Families are struggling to find recreational activities,” Thomas Hessel, vice president of the HOA. “It was a no-brainer for us.”

Many towns require permits to install a larger above-ground pool, but some retailers who sell the larger blowup pools in those reportedly aren’t warning consumers about needing a permit.

Suburbia Is Awash in Above-Ground Swimming Pools—and That Has Some Neighbors in Hot Water,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 4, 2020) [Log-in required.]