Module 1 – Pool & Spa Maintenance

Chapter 14: Introduction


When an abandoned property has a recreational water source(s) located on the property (i.e. Pool, Spa, Jacuzzi, etc.) a potential safety hazard is created due to the retained water. If a fence is not present (with a minimum height of 4 feet) with all entrances to the water source secured, then, at a minimum, the water source should be covered regardless of the amount of water that is being retained. The covering is to protect against a person or animal from falling or unlawfully entering these unsafe areas.

Pool securing and other services for pre-sale properties are generally dictated by local codes and ordinances surrounding the handling of stagnant water and the securing of the potential safety hazard.  Failure to adhere to these guidelines can leave clients and contractors open to fines and lawsuits should an accident occur.

Government Regulations

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

From HUD Mortgagee Letter 2010-18:

Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas:

In-ground pools (including hot tubs or spas that share the same filtering system as the pool) must be secured but not drained. Pools (including hot tubs or spas that share the same filtering system), must be secured with a cover that prevents entry, either deliberate or accidental. Fences must be secured to restrict access, if applicable.*

Above Ground Pools: If the above ground pool is in good condition (i.e., built-up with decking or other infrastructure that provides value and will support a pool cover), secure it with a cover that prevents entry, either deliberate or accidental. Above ground pools in poor condition or those that cannot be secured shall be removed. When an above ground pool is removed, remediate any depression in the ground that might constitute a hazard.*

Securing Hot Tubs or Spas: The Mortgagee shall drain and secure portable hot tubs and spas. If a hot tub or spa is outdoors, the mortgagee shall secure it with a cover that prevents entry, either deliberate or accidental.*

Maintenance of Pools, Hot Tubs or Spas: The Mortgagee must perform monthly maintenance and chemical treatments to operational pools, hot tubs or spas when attached to a pool filtering system.*

*HUD FAQs for ML 2010-18 state,

  • “If local code is present, pools should be secured per those guidelines. If the area is absent of local guidelines, the pool should still be secured in a manner that will prevent access.”
  • “Utilities must remain on in accordance with local code or state law when required to maintain pool as described in ML 2010-18.”
  • “If local jurisdiction/code regulates the maintenance of pools, please follow local code and repair as required.”

For more information regarding HUD, VA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac requirements, visit the NAMFS Mortgagee Letter & Servicing Guide page at: Servicing Guidelines