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No Pool? No Problem, Just Rent Your Neighbor's

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Holly Yurchison
/
WVXU

Autumn is right around the corner, but the dog days of summer are not over yet. That's why some people in the Tri-State are renting their backyard pools by the hour.

Autumn is right around the corner, but the dog days of summer are not over yet. That's why some people in the Tri-State are renting their backyard pools by the hour.

Jennifer Coy's Bridgetown pool is heated, with a diving board, and she has a jacuzzi and fire pit in her backyard. But with a 5-year-old daughter, it doesn't get used often. So she rents it to people via an app called Swimply.

"It works a lot like an Airbnb," she said. "They actually provide you with insurance for the pool for the people that come. And it's been lovely. Gosh, I want to say I did it two weeks ago, and I've had about 12 reservations."

Founder Bunim Laskin started the national company about three years ago after coming up with the idea when he was a kid wanting to swim in his neighbor's seldom-used pool. In March of 2020, he was featured on the show Shark Tank, asking for a $300,000 investment in his idea. But he got no takers.

In the past year, however, public pools and water parks have been closed or at limited capacity. And according to the Shark Tank website, his business saw a 4,000% increase in business. The business has recently expanded into Australia.

Coy says a friend told her about Swimply and she thought it was a good way to get a tax break on her pool, which can be pricey to maintain.

So far, she says all her guests have been friendly and all but one have cleaned up after themselves.

"I'm a little more skeptical about bigger parties. I have neighbors and I don't want (loud) noise and whatnot," she said. "But when there's families that want to come … I've had to host a children's birthday party here. I have no problem. Those people were so nice, they even let my 5-year-old have some birthday cake."

According to the Swimply website, rented pools undergo safety and water inspections before being listed. Booking a pool involves creating a profile on the website.

Prices range from about $25 to over $50 per hour locally.