Secure Pool Or Spa To Reduce Liability
At A Vacant Property
When your work order says, "secure pool", this is a top priority for the bank when a home is in foreclosure and vacant. An in-ground pool or spa that has no fence and locking gate or a cover is a huge liability concern for the mortgagee, even if there is no water in the pool. The bank will obviously want to have the pool secured as soon as possible.
Secure Pool Option #1
If the pool is an above-ground pool, the bank will want the pool emptied and removed. In rare cases the lender might ask you to empty the pool and move it to a secure location. Generally, however, after you remove the water, you will simply dispose of the pool and all its parts.
If it is an above-ground pool that has a deck built around it, then it should be treated as an in-ground pool. See options #2 and #3.
Secure Pool Option #2
In most cases when homeowners have installed an in-ground pool they also have set up a perimeter fence with a locking gate. Simply locking the gate(s) will secure the pool in most cases. So you should install a padlock on each gate that allows access to the fenced pool area. If a section of the fence is down, the bank may approve a bid to repair/replace the fence.
Sometimes the bank will want the additional security of covering the pool. See option #3.
Secure Pool Option #3
When there is no fence and locking gate, the pool needs to be covered. In the past banks required pools to be boarded, but more recently they want them to be tarped. Here is a description of how to do both.
Secure Pool by Boarding
To board a pool, use 2x6s to build a box that is larger than the pool, extending onto the ledges all around the pool. Then nail "joists" inside the box, 16 inches on center, full length of the pool. Next staple 6 mil plastic sheeting over the entire wood structure you've built.
Finally, nail (with fence staples) a 6x6 wire mesh over the entire horizontal surface. Obviously you will need to have a piece of plywood large enough to support yourself while you install the wire mesh. Additionally, it's a good idea to poke a lot of holes in the plastic so the rain water won't collect and pull the plastic loose.
Secure Pool by Tarping
To tarp an in-ground or in-deck pool, you will need to take pool measurements and special order the tarp from your regular P&P/REO materials supplier. They probably stock some standard sizes you can order, but your job may require custom sizing. This method of securing a pool is a little more expensive, but is much simpler to perform.
Other than your regular tools, you will need only a heavy duty impact drill and a 3/4" diamond bit. You simply snap a line where the cover will be installed (one foot from the pool edge), measure and mark for drilling the anchors, than drill the holes. You then tap brass anchors into the holes, so that they are flush with the deck surface. Turn the threaded center of the anchors with an allen key, and then hook the cover straps onto the supplied springs and then to the anchors.
If this sounds a little complicated, the instructions that come with the tarp, are quite easy to follow, and include good illustrations. Here's what you need to know: the size of the pool. The company we order from sells them by the size of the pool, and then delivers a cover that is two feet larger (length and width) than the pool size. For instance, if I submit an order for a 12x20 pool, they will send me a 14x22 tarp.
Pump Water to Secure Pool
Sometimes the bank will request, or you may want to bid, to pump the water from the pool. This is done both to reduce liability concerns and well as to retard algae growth. you should leave about four feet of water in the deep end.
You can rent a pump and a length of two-inch hose from a local rental store or home improvement center. It may take several hours and you will probably need to use your generator to power the pump. Just make sure that if you pump the water out into a city street, it is directed toward a storm drain.
If there is no cover already on the spa / hot tub, the contractor must make some kind of cover in order to secure it. This is true even if there is not water in it. We usually build a cover with 2x4s and 1/2" plywood. It must be built so it is strong enough to hold the weight of someone who might climb up on it. There are no HUD specs for this particular job, so you're on your own to build one that is sturdy and secure.
Return from secure pool to property preservation / REO.