Section 202.022 of the Texas Property Code governs the installation of a Swimming Pool Enclosure by an owner. While these changes are technically appliable to owners within both residential subdivisions as well as condominium associations, they will realistically only apply to owners within residential subdivisions. The changes related to Swimming Pool Enclosures take effect on September 1, 2021. Previously, there were no limits on the ability of a residential subdivision to restrict the installation of Swimming Pool Enclosures. The creation of Section 202.022 allows for an owner to install a Swimming Pool Enclosure with few limitations.
First, the law defines a “Swimming Pool Enclosure” as a fence that has each of the following features: (a) surrounds a water feature, including a swimming pool or spa; (b) consists of transparent mesh or clear panels set in metal frames; (c) is not more than six feet in height; and (d) is designed not to be climbable.
Next, the law tells us that a property owners’ association may not prohibit an owner from installing a Swimming Pool Enclosure for so long as it conforms to state and local safety requirements.
Finally, the law tells us that a property owners’ association may adopt or enforce a provision establishing limitations on the appearance of a swimming pool enclosure, including permissible colors. However, the law does not allow an association to restrict an owner from installing a Swimming Pool Enclosure that is black in color and consists of transparent mesh set in metal frames.
The law does not allow for an owner to install a Swimming Pool Enclosure without first seeking approval from the association’s architectural review committee or architectural control committee. As such, care should be shown that owners installing such safety devices seek proper approval prior to the installing of a Swimming Pool Enclosure. Furthermore, the law does not allow for an owner to install a glass or metal enclosure if specifically prohibited by the dedicatory instruments of the association.
It is our firm’s recommendation that each association should consider the updating of its architectural control guidelines to allow for the installation of Swimming Pool Enclosures in compliance with Section 202.022. The association should specifically delineate the appearance, size, and permissible colors of Swimming Pool Enclosures within the association. Should the association not regulate the appearance or installation of Swimming Pool enclosures, then no changes are necessary at this time.