by Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs, partner with Combs Law Group, P.C.

Question: Last month we rented an older home in North Phoenix. When we rented the home the landlord knew that we had two small children. We have now received a notice from the City of Phoenix that a pool barrier fence is required under the City of Phoenix pool barrier laws. When we contacted the landlord, the landlord said that, because the home was built in the 1980’s, the cost of complying with the pool barrier laws was not his responsibility, but was our responsibility. Under the landlord-tenant law, A.R.S. § 33-1324, the landlord has the obligation to comply with all building codes on safety and health issues. Shouldn’t the landlord have the obligation to install the pool barrier fence, especially when the landlord knew that we had two small children?

Answer: In the last twenty years pool barrier laws have been adopted by the State of Arizona, and by most counties and municipalities in the State of Arizona. In general, these laws provide that the owner of the property must construct a pool barrier fence or otherwise comply with the law by installing an alarm system or pool covers. I would initially suggest that you get a copy of the City of Phoenix pool barrier law which is Phoenix Residential Code, Appendix ” G”. Section 105.5 of Appendix ” G” exempts from the requirement of a pool barrier fence for any home built prior to 1990, but the exemption expires if children under the age of six become occupants of the property. A pool barrier fence is then required. The law does not specifically state whether the landlord or tenant then has the obligation to pay for the cost of the pool barrier fence. If the landlord knew that you had small children, however, the landlord should have disclosed to you the requirement of a pool barrier fence. A.R.S. § 36-1681. Therefore, the landlord should pay for the cost of the pool barrier fence.

 

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