Legally, Should Your Neighbors Have A Fence Around Their Pool?

According to the United States Product Safety Commission, in 2013, there were approximately 202 swimming pool drownings in children ages 1–14. Statistics also show that roughly 5,000 children who fall between the ages of 1 and 14 are hospitalized because of swimming pool related drowning injuries every year. While you may have decided not to have a swimming pool in your backyard for your children because of these scary statistics, this doesn't mean your neighbor doesn't have one. If your neighbor does have a swimming pool, legally, you may be wondering if he or she is required to have a fence around it.

Are There Any Laws In Place Regarding Residential Swimming Pool Fences?

To date, there are no federal laws in place that regulate residential swimming pool fences. Fortunately, many states, counties, and cities do have laws in place that require owners of residential swimming pools to also have fences. For example, in the state of Arizona, any home with a child under the age of six must have a wall, barrier, or fence around the swimming pool. In the state of Illinois, on the other hand, it doesn't matter whether the homeowner has a child or not. All residential pool owners in the state of Illinois are required to have a barrier that is a minimum of 3.5 feet high around their pool. Lastly, while the state of North Dakota does not have any state laws in place regarding residential pools, the city of Fargo does. In Fargo, pool owners are required to have a barrier that is at least five feet tall around all residential pools.

Homeowner's Swimming Pool Liability

Even though federal and state laws may not require a homeowner to have a barrier around his or her pool, all homeowners are liable for their residential pools. This is why most homeowners put barriers up around their pool even though there are not laws in place requiring them to do so. If you have a small child and live next to someone with a pool, there is nothing wrong with asking them to consider putting up a fence just to give everyone peace of mind.

The bottom line is – whether or not, legally, your neighbor is required to have a fence or barrier around his/her swimming pool depends entirely on city and state laws. The best thing you can do is talk to a lawyer about whether or not there are any laws requiring your neighbor to have a fence around the pool. A lawyer like Hawkins  Bingham &  Miller will be aware of all city and state laws and be able to give you the best possible advice regarding the matter.