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How To Stop Pass Sharing at Your HOA Pool

Why 20100807_7727is my pool so crowded?  Who are all these people at the pool?  Those teenagers don’t live in the community.  Why isn’t the pool collecting any guest money?

Does this sound like you?

Believe it or not, some communities embrace this culture.  After all, it is a community pool.  The elected board members have made a decision to allow a loose pass policy and/or decided not to collect guest fees.

When this is the case, you may hear comments like these: “My family uses XYZ HOA pool, my mother in law lives there.”  “When my girlfriend comes to visit, she uses my next door neighbor’s pass.”  “Everybody is allowed 1 free guest.  We will find somebody at the pool to be your guest.  It will save us $10 bucks.”

Some communities do not embrace this culture.  Non-residents may be causing “problems” at the pool.  A crowded pool cost homeowner’s money.  Budgets may be tight.  Additional chemicals, bathroom supplies, equipment wear and tear, and possibly additional lifeguards all cost money.

Before reading further, decide which community you are and which community you want to be.  Switching from “loose rules” to “a tight ship” creates backlash.  Patrons previously breaking the rules will obviously be upset.  However, regular patrons will also become upset because they may have to take additional steps to be admitted.

That being said, this is how you stop pass sharing:

1. Use a photo ID pool pass.  The most common method unauthorized users gain access to a swimming pool is by using somebody else’s pass.  Not by sneaking in or lifeguard carelessness.

2. Do not have a guest policy where members are allowed to bring in 1 or more free guest.  The free guest opens the door to abuse.  Residints will figure out a way to exploit this and bring multiple guests for free.

3.  Collect passes at the gate or lifeguard station.  Return passes as patrons leave the facility.  A procedure where every person must check in with a staff member is essential to maintaing control of who is authorized and not authorized to enter.  Better yet, have your lifeguards sign in the patrons.  This forces lifeguards to stop and read the pass.

4.  Support your lifeguards and gate attendants in enforcing your new policy.

  • Don’t make exceptions to the policy.
  • Hang signs at the gate and check in station.
  • If a patron is getting turned away at the gate for not having a pass.  Give the patron instructions how to obtain a pass.  Give them a blank application or phone number.

5.  Notify your residents early and often about the changes in policy.  State the following:

  • Resident without a valid pool pass will not be admitted to the pool.
  • All guest must be accompanied by a resident at all times.
  • All guest must purchase or present a guest pass to be admitted to the pool.
  • List the specific policy changes.


Stopping pass sharing is not easy.  It takes effort from management and pool staff.

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