Over the next few weeks, many Homeowner Associations will begin to reopen their swimming pools. Prior to opening the Association’s pool, it is important for the Board to review the Association’s Rules and Regulations to make sure that they adequately protect the Association from any potential liability. More specifically, the Board should review the Rules and Regulations to confirm that they do not create restrictions to certain protected classes regarding the use of the pool, as this could be a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Federal Fair Housing Act.
In Illinois, it is a civil rights violation under the Illinois Human Rights Act “to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.” 775 ILCS 5/3-102.1(C)(2). Therefore, if a unit owner makes a request to the Association for a reasonable accommodation at the pool, the Board must review the request and respond to it appropriately in a timely manner.
Additionally, the Board must also ensure that the Association’s Rules do not violate the Fair Housing Act. A common yet innocent error often includes pool Rules directed at families. Section 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f) of the Fair Housing Act states that a community association may not discriminate on the basis of “familial status”, which includes discrimination against families with children. Courts have also determined that Association Rules which restrict children from using the adult areas of the pool are discriminatory in nature and must therefore be removed from an Association’s governing documents. Thus, it is important to review your Association pool Rules and remove any Rules that ban or prohibit children or require certain age limits to swim. These types of Rules typically take the form of “adult swim” only or pools for “adult use” only.
Members of an Association’s Board of Directors have a fiduciary duty to ensure that the Association’s Rules and Regulations do not violate Illinois or Federal law. The attorneys in Tressler LLP’s HOA Practice can assist with reviewing your Association’s Rules and Regulations to ensure they conform with the applicable law.