Expert: Leases dictate whether homeowners or renters are responsible for pool upkeep

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Questions still linger around the drowning death of an 8-year-old Jacob Davis. The child was found unresponsive Saturday in the family’s backyard pool near Mountain Vista and Russell Road.

When the child was first reported missing Metro Police searched for him all around the neighborhood and the house. However, authorities missed him the first go round due to how murky the pool was. 8 News Now learned the family was renting the home, so now the question is who was responsible for the upkeep? Does it fall on the homeowner or the renter?

“It should be 100 percent the property owner,” said Cyndi Koester, the regional director, CAMCO.

Koester works for a community management group, dealing with homeowners, and HOA’s. When it comes to renting, Koester strongly believes homeowners should take responsibility for their property, which includes backyard pools. With that said, in the end, it’s all based on the specific contract.

“It comes down to what the lease actually requires the renter to be able to do,” Koester said.

According to Koester, most owners will have a barrier around their pool and have a game plan to keep it clean. This makes it easy for the renters.

“The renter is able to call and say, ‘I have a green pool,’ and the maintenance company comes out immediately the next day and takes care of it,” Koester said.

It’s mainly for liability reasons, but some leases might give renters more responsibility. According to Koester, in cases of tragedy, the homeowner needs to own up.

“If something happens, that’s your property. You are 100 percent liable even if you have it in the lease that the person is supposed to maintain it,” Koester.”

Clark County officials agree. According to a spokesperson, “any new construction in unincorporated Clark County must comply with building codes, which includes pools.”

The southern Nevada pool code reads that “pools and spas shall be completely enclosed with access barriers,” and that “the owners of the property upon which pools are located, are responsible for establishing and maintaining access barriers.”

In any case, Koester says renters should always ask to see the liability insurance and take a good look at the contract.

“I would not rent a home without making sure that they’ve got that pool property maintained,” Koester said.

8 News NOW tried reaching out to the family and yesterday to the owner of the home, but neither responded. The Clark County Coroner ruled Jacob’s death an accidental drowning.

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