With the holidays and winter getaways upon us, many communities may have extra visitors staying with family and friends. Guests any time of the year can prompt confusion and potential conflict about community rules.
We asked CAI members how they handle guest access to community amenities such as pools, particularly during a busy season for visitors.
Dave Norton, CMCA, AMS, owner of Spectrum Management Associates in Sedona, Ariz., didn’t make exceptions for the holidays at his community association clients. “I no longer have any communities with pools, but when we did, it was never an issue,” he says. “Owners had keys and there was nothing special about holidays. The guest policy is in effect all year long.”
Carolinas Preserve Homeowners Association in Cary, N.C., developed a facilities use manual with guidelines, rules, and regulations that includes a guest policy. Each residence is provided 30 guest wrist bands for the year. Additional guest bands are available for purchase. Four guests per homeowner are permitted at a time. When a homeowner brings in a guest to use either the indoor pool or outdoor pool, each guest must have a wrist band and be signed in at the front desk at the clubhouse by the community homeowner. Homeowners are responsible for their guests and must be always with them when using any facility and amenity.
The large-scale community also sets a schedule for lap swim times, water aerobics classes, and kids’ swim for its indoor pool. “The time schedule is set, and no adjustments are made for the holidays or summer breaks. We do, however, relax a little during the holidays for how many guests a homeowner can bring for the kids’ swim time,” says Christine Hast, CMCA, AMS, general manager. “If a resident brings five grandchildren for kids’ swim, we do make an allowance to permit all five instead of sticking to the four guest policy. After all, it is the holidays, and how do you choose which grandchild can’t swim?”
Savannahs Landing Homeowners Association in Ocean View, Del., only keeps its outdoor pool open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Because of abuses, it has had to define a guest as someone who stays overnight with a resident. “We also have had to limit the number of guests to no more than six people per visit to the pool,” says Ron Galey, vice president of the association board. “Owners are responsible for their guests. We use our gate entry system and cameras to audit both residents and guests.”
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Joni Lucas is the editor of CAI's flagship magazine, Common Ground.