DENVER — A dip in the pool could dip into the pockets of homeowners.
Swimply is leading the way in the pool rental market. It’s a concept similar to Airbnb, but hosts rent out their pools, instead of their homes. For around $50, people can rent a pool by the hour.
The problem: it's not allowed in Denver.
"If you have a pool and it’s part of your Airbnb, you can definitely let whoever using Airbnb use your pool, but you cannot rent out your pool separately as a commercial business," said Laura Swartz, a spokesperson for Planning and Development with the City and County of Denver.
Swartz says renting out a private pool is not allowed for a couple of reasons.
"A commercial pool rental is going to be a much higher impact — zoning codes look at that much more carefully — and so, you’ve got things like noise and parking impacts. You also have a number of health and safety regulations," Swartz said.
There’s 14 available pools on Swimply’s site in the Denver metro, and only two within city limits. It's a number that could be going up.
"We do have more interest from residents over the summer who are renting out their pools. We also just receive more complaints," Swartz said, though she doesn't know the exact number.
For the first complaint, the city inspector goes out and educates the homeowner on what the city allows. After that, they will fine you $150, and that price tag can go up with more visits. Last summer, they had to tell someone to shut down because of multiple visits out, according to Swartz.
In a statement to Denver7, Swimply co-founder Asher Weinberger writes:
Similar to other sharing economy companies (Airbnb, Uber etc.), there are times when (legacy) regulations do not have specific language relating to new business models, and we think that may be what is happening here. Our pools are no more 'public pools' than Airbnb homes with pools are public pools.
With every city or county having different interpretations, as part of our onboarding process, we advise our hosts to do their due diligence on any local statutes or ordinances. We have a Facebook page where hosts share best practices and thousands of hosts have found this to be an excellent resource.
Swimply’s hosts seek to provide a safe and fun pool experience to their guests. Swimply is more than happy to have conversations with the City of Denver about ways we can work together to advance the interests of local pool owners and the public as a whole.