Is Your Vacation Rental Hot Tub Squeaky Clean?

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There is little doubt that having a hot tub is an advantage in attracting low and shoulder season rentals. When there’s a lot of choice for prospective renters looking for an out-of-season break, extra amenities can be the deal decider, so the more options you can offer the better chance you have of converting a casual enquirer into a confirmed renter. Hot tubs and saunas come high on a renter’s wish list. I’ve put a hot tub in each of my properties and they have paid for themselves in a relatively short time with marginally increased rental rates and higher occupancy. However, there is a cost in terms of the time and effort involved in maintaining a healthy chemical balance and ensuring optimum water quality, as well as educating guests in the safe use and operation of a tub.

I was interested to read Joyce Copeland’s article about hot tubs on her Beach Vacation Rental site.  I met up with Joyce during our recent road trip and discussed this briefly. She isn’t a fan of hot tubs but that isn’t the reason for her cautious approach – it is more to do with the potential for litigation where a renter makes a complaint about an illness or condition that ‘might’ have been triggered by poor hot tub maintenance. Without legislation requiring specific hot tub maintenance regimes ( as is now the case in California), I wondered how an owner could respond to this type of claim.

Asking the question of an insurance broker elicited a fairly vague response suggesting a liability waiver together with regular maintenance, but he also said we need to watch what happens south of the border as it will ultimately affect us here in Canada. I took this to mean there have not been any claims yet, but it may well happen soon.

I’ve now put a system in place at my vacation property that provides a dated record of the chemical balance, additions and maintenance issues. In the unlikely event that a guest lodges any claim with regard to the hot tub, we can provide evidence it is being maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. In addition, the detailed instructions included in the Cottage Guide ask our guests to let us know if they have any concerns at all about the quality of the hot tub water, along with warnings about user safety. We’re able to respond within an hour if there are any problems.

Good maintenance involves frequent monitoring of PH and bromine/chlorine levels; filter cleaning, and other checks to keep the water sparkling and in healthy condition. Irregular maintenance, or relying on rental guests to make chemical additions, is not good practice, and can result in problems.

While we might object to the litigious nature of society, it’s a good opportunity to become more accountable or squeaky clean in terms of your hot tub!