Is renting out backyard pools worth the risk for homeowners?
Summer is often associated with delicious barbeques, scenic hikes, camping, and other fun outdoor activities such as swimming. With that in mind, many homeowners are taking advantage of their backyard pools by renting it out to guests during the warmer months.
Thanks to Swimply, a website that functions like Airbnb or Vrbo, homeowners can earn additional income by advertising their rentable pools on the online platform. This “Airbnb for pools” trend has seen 2000% growth this summer, providing the opportunity for families to swim while some recreational facilities remain closed due to COVID-19.
Before you rush to rent your pool, remember that swimming pools can be dangerous. Part of the condition of booking these backyard pools is that you sign a waiver and promise not to take action against Swimply if you are injured. In turn, they expect the homeowner to sign, saying they have adequate insurance. However, most homeowner insurance policies do not cover renting a pool.
Are you covered?
Homeowners who provide their swimming pools to paying guests via listings are likely to find they are not protected and might be held personally liable if something unexpected takes place. This includes any drownings, slips, and falls that occur on their property.
It also should not be assumed that a homeowners policy will cover this business operation—in fact, their policy could be non-renewed if the homeowner’s insurance provider is made aware that they are renting out their pool.
Know the laws
We live in a very litigious society. Homeowners who rent their swimming pools may be at risk of losing all their assets in a lawsuit, which is why it’s important to learn and understand the laws. Before renting out your pool, check on local code enforcement laws. Some communities may require lifeguards, regular water tests, and mandate health, safety and compliance rules.
As such, homeowners who are considering using Swimply (or other similar platforms) should be aware of the regulations, possible insurance implications, and have a clear idea of how to handle possible claims and complaints.
Keep yourself (and others) safe
Pools are notoriously dangerous places, and with alcohol, people may be slipping and at risk of drowning or near drowning. Before you jump into the trend of renting out your pool, be aware of the risks, which can also include theft or damage by visitors.
Again, this may not be covered by your insurance policy. As with any coverage need, speak with your insurance broker to ensure proper protection. Understand all of the risk exposures you have, and consult with an agent to determine how much risk you are willing to take on.