Montreal homeowners renting out pools for cash, but experts urge caution

Click to play video: 'New online service offers backyard pool rentals by the hour'
New online service offers backyard pool rentals by the hour
WATCH: It’s now possible to rent a backyard pool by the hour or the day. This new service allows Quebec homeowners to make better use of their backyards and share with people looking to cool off and have some summer fun. Global's Olivia O’Malley looks into the new service. – Aug 11, 2021

Temperatures continue to soar this week in Montreal with the city under a heat warning and the humidex reaching 40 degrees Celsius. Public pools and splash pads offer a way to beat the heat, but for those looking for a little more privacy, there’s a new way to cool off by the hour.

Fifty-five pool owners in the Montreal area and counting are hopping on the latest trend of renting their backyard pools using Swimply. The online marketplace connects pool owners with locals looking to rent a place to cool-off for an hourly fee.

“So why not rent it out to families that don’t have access to the pool, and that way they can either get a break from the heat or even use it for swim lessons if they wanted to,” said Île-Perrot resident Holly Lawson, who started renting her pool on Swimply this week.

The average rental is $45 per hour and Lawson rents her pool for $35. At her pool and its surrounding backyard facilities, renters have access to their own private bathroom, the saltwater pool and the barbecue.

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Swimply is an American company that was founded in 2018 and expanded operations to Canada a year after.

The company takes 15 per cent of the sale, and pool owners pocket the rest. Based on host availability, Vice President of Growth Sonny Mayugba said renting an underutilized pool can supplement your income.

“So what you’re seeing is these hosts making a thousand dollars a month, two thousand, five thousand,” he told Global News.

Insurance companies however, warn the risk is greater than the reward for homeowners.

“There’s too many things that can go wrong,” said KBD Insurance President Curtis Killen.

He recommends that potential renters talk to their insurance provider first, before diving into the market.

“There’s a good chance that your home insurance will also deny it because it’s technically like for commercial use, because they’re going to make money off of it,” he said.

Raynald Hawkins, executive director of Quebec’s branch of the Lifesaving Society, reminds hosts that it’s solely their responsibility to enforce water safety rules.

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“I think you have a part of this to make sure everything will be safe when you rent,” said Hawkins.

Lawson doesn’t allow diving and requires one guest to watch the pool at all times.

While she waits for her first booking, Lawson hopes her pool can bring joy to other families than just her own this summer.

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