Can my visiting friends and grandkids use the community pool and clubhouse?

The answer is a definite maybe! (And check your CC&Rs)

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Question

I live in a condominium, in a great development that has a community pool and clubhouse. I am a social person and like to have my friends, kids, and grandkids come to visit as much as possible. Are they allowed to swim in the pool and play ping pong in the clubhouse? I’ve been getting some resentful looks from other residents.

Answer

Um… maybe! Sorry that’s not a definitive answer, but whether your friends and relatives can use the recreational facilities such as the pool and clubhouse depends on your development’s rules and regulations.

Most planned developments are regulated by a set of governing documents, usually including a declaration of covenants, conditions, restrictions, and easements (CC&Rs) and other written rules and regulations adopted by the homeowners' association (HOA).

These documents define what areas in the development are “common areas” (property owned jointly by all the homeowners in the development). Your development’s pool and clubhouse are probably common areas. You must read the governing documents to determine what rights your friends and relatives have to use these common areas (and the specific common areas they wish to use).

You most likely received a copy of the governing documents when you purchased your condominium. If not, you can typically obtain a copy from your HOA.

Most developments’ rules attempt to avoid overuse and misuse of the common facilities. The extent and complexity of such regulations varies.

Stricter developments might limit use of common areas to homeowners only. Other developments might allow relatives or guests to use the common areas if (and only if) accompanied by an owner.

Less restrictive developments might allow non-owners to use the common areas with permission of an owner, or with a special “guest pass.”

In a few developments, unlimited use of common areas by relatives is allowed. Unlimited use by guests, however, is rarely permitted, since the HOA must have some means of restricting outsiders and trespassers from intruding on and using the development’s facilities without permission.

If your development allows relatives or guests to use the common areas, regulations might still limit when and how they can use these. For example, pool use might be limited to one guest at a time, or the ping pong table might be open to guest use only on certain days.

Also, different rules might apply to each common area. The rules might prohibit guests in a common sauna, for example, but allow guests in the common pool. Again, the only way to know exactly what rules apply is to carefully read any applicable provisions in the governing documents.

Hopefully, after inspecting your development’s documents you’ll find out the answer to your question is “yes.” If so, go ahead and extend a swimming invitation to the grandkids, and invite your friends to a rousing game of ping pong.

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