If you’re thinking about renting out your backyard swimming pool to strangers, you may run into problems.Local code enforcement departments are warning homeowners who rent their pools by the hour that they are violating the “change of use” of the pool from residential to commercial.
According to the mayor of one town in New Jersey, “most of the homeowners stop once they are made aware that it is not legal to do this. Many do not realize the liability issues when their backyard pool is considered a commercial venture.”
In addition to violating local code enforcement laws, a typical homeowners insurance policy will not provide coverage for renting a private pool. And then there’s the issue of complying with state health violations.
Brian Rumpf, director of personnel and program development for the Ocean County Health Department in New Jersey, said residential pools that are being used for commercial purposes must comply with state rules governing public pools.
“This includes requiring lifeguards, testing water on a regular basis and providing proper storage for pool chemicals,” he added. “Residential pool owners would need to become as compliant as the pool at the YWCA. There are a host of very stringent compliance measures they have to meet.”
A new company, Pool For U, has listed on its web site residential pools for rent in California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, New York and New Jersey, with prices ranging from $25 to $65 an hour. The pool owners get 85 percent of the revenue. Pool For U takes 15 percent and also charges guests a fee.
In March, Pool For U temporarily halted all operations on its web site and plans to relaunch it after making some changes. They plan to provide insurance for homeowners who rent out their pools, similar to the $1 million in liability coverage Airbnb provides for homeowners who rent rooms through the company.