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Don’t have a backyard pool? Swimply, the Airbnb of pools, might be your answer

A Los Angeles area pool recently listed on the Swimply site.
A Los Angeles area pool recently listed on the Swimply site.
(Swimply)

The Southern California September forecast? Mostly sunny and sweaty, with a chance of roasting. The cure: a dip in the pool.

Don’t have one? Don’t need one.

These days, you can rent, by the hour, from those who have pools in their backyard and like the idea of the sharing economy for swimming pools. Say hello to Swimply.

The model for Swimply? Think Airbnb, which enables travelers to stay in a spare space or rent a whole house.

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With Swimply, pool owners can sign up on the website and add pictures of their backyards and their swimming space. Those who want to rent a pool use the same app to secure it for a specified number of hours.

The idea, said Swimply co-founder Bunim Laskin, 22, sprang from stifling summer days in his native New Jersey.

“Being the oldest of 12 kids, finding an affordable way for my family to leave the house and spend time together was very difficult,” Laskin said. “We saw that our next-door neighbor’s pool was empty a lot, and so I asked her if [we] could use it.”

Laskin’s family negotiated with their neighbor and arranged to pay 25% of the cost of the pool. The idea caught on, and within a few weeks several other neighbors followed suit and allowed their pools to be rented.

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Laskin launched Swimply last year.

“We look at it as a way of democratizing a luxury,” Laskin said.

An average pool installation costs nearly $26,000, according to HomeAdvisor. Maintenance costs $80 to $150 monthly, according to HomeGuide.

Edgar Liquidano, a Swimply host, likes the service, he said, because it allows him to offset costs from his pool, which is near Beverly Hills, while giving someone the opportunity to use it when his family isn’t.

Tania Campos, a resident of Koreatown, recently rented Liquidano’s pool to throw a Hawaiian-themed birthday party for her mother.

“Not everyone in L.A. owns a home, especially with a pool,” Campos said. “The service gives us the opportunity to enjoy, even if it’s for a few hours, to be in a swimming pool and relax.”

Swimply takes 15% of the rental fee as commission. Hosts can set the price, list amenities and outline restrictions, such as the number of people, electronics allowed and so on. Hosts also can set their cancellation policy and privacy ratings, which guides the guests in choosing the best fit.

The pool rental service doesn’t provide the hosts with insurance for the pool or injuries caused. That’s the responsibility of homeowners, who must check the restrictions on their homeowner’s insurance to see whether they would be covered. Renters also must sign a waiver.

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Swimply requires pool owners to have their pools inspected for health and safety. (Poolwerx and Aqua Masters are the inspectors.) The 24-point checklist includes inspection of tiles and chlorine levels.


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