“Escape locally. Enjoy your own private pool, by the hour,” reads the headline on the Swimply website. Clicking on “Find pools near me” brings up detailed listings and photos of the 200 private swimming pools already signed up as hosts in the LA area—renting at anywhere from $40 per hour to $100 per hour; located anywhere from Beverly Hills and Bel Air to Glendale and Burbank.
“Enjoy the luxury of the private swimming pool experience without the burden of owning one,” says the app description on Google Play. “Whether for a quick getaway from the office or fun in the sun get-together with friends and family, or just some well-deserved R&R and exercise ... you can make it happen with Swimply.”
The listings extol the virtues of each swimming pool and its particular accoutrements: jacuzzi, heated, easy car parking, built-in BBQ, diving boards, slides, outdoor fireplace, landscape lighting, landscaping, mini-fridge, tables and seating. Some owners specify “families only” or “two-hour minimum.”
The startup already has more than 13,000 pools listed across the U.S. and receives nearly 100 requests a day from people who want to offer their pools on the platform, according to company spokesperson Andrea Toch.
It seems only a matter of time until Malibu property owners become more aware of the app and decide to earn extra bucks by signing up as swimming pool hosts.
In recent years, some local house rentals through Airbnb and other services have disturbed Malibu neighborhoods with loud parties and trash to the point where the city has implemented stricter rules for owners to follow. Could hourly pool rentals lead to the same problems? Could the city collect tax on these rentals the way it does on other short-term rentals? Those questions have yet to be answered.
Swimply is aware of the legal and neighborhood problems that Airbnb encountered and appears to be proactively trying to head off future complaints with what it calls its “Good Neighbor Standards.”
“It is of utmost importance to us that Swimply only brings joy to communities,” the privately held company states. “As such, aside from being responsible for providing accurate and safe listings, hosts on Swimply should comply with our Good Neighbor Policy before listing.”
The neighbor policy recommends potential hosts discuss their plans to share their pool on Swimply with their neighbors before signing up. They also want the host to get approval from neighbors in regard to the number of reservations allowed per week, number of guests allowed per reservation, quiet hours and noise levels.
In addition, Swimply wants hosts to remain on property for all reservations with 15 or more guests, which they say make up less than four percent of their swims. If the host fails to follow the rules, neighbors can call Swimply’s “community care” team to report them.
In comparison, the new rules for Airbnbs in Malibu—which are not yet final, pending California Coastal Commission approval—would require the property owner to live on the rental site and be physically present from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. regardless of the number of guests. It also caps guests at 14 total. That ordinance has been seven years in the making and is not yet law.
In response to a question from The Malibu Times, Toch emailed, “Ratings and complaints are closely monitored and Swimply takes quick action on complaints, including removing hosts if needed.”
As if swimming pools weren’t enough, the same company, under the name Joyspace, has already started a waitlist for its next venture: renting out private spaces that include tennis courts, basketball courts, private gyms, “majestic” backyards, hot tubs and docked boats. The launch date for Joyspace is yet to be determined.
“What is Joyspace?” the company poses. “Joyspace is democratizing luxury by allowing owners of awesome spaces to share them by the hour with those who would like to enjoy them. It’s that simple. Yes, we know, it’s awesome.”