Palm Springs may be a hotspot for vacation rentals, but it won’t be the same for those looking to rent just their pools, depending on the city.
But Swimply, a start-up that lets owners rent pools like they can rent houses on Airbnb, says the city is misrepresenting its business and that it has every right to continue operating.
The city says homeowners who chose to rent only their pools on Swimply are breaking city law, at least in single-family areas where most pools are located.
But as of Wednesday, four pools in Palm Springs were still available for rent on Swimply, which offers a website and mobile app. Options include a 25-by-15-foot pool located near downtown that’s lined with cacti to what’s billed as an Instagram-worthy saltwater pool near the airport.
The pools available in Palm Springs can be rented for between $40 and $50 per hour and can usually accommodate six to 12 people.
The city’s conclusion that Swimply’s services are not permitted was reported earlier by KESQ.
When The Desert Sun contacted the city last month about Swimply’s arrival, a staff member said the city was aware of an increase in registrations in the city and was still determining whether the service should be authorized and regulated.
But after learning more about the business model and reviewing the city’s zoning code, the vacation rental compliance officer said the city determined the zoning code prohibits pool rentals in areas. reserved for single-family homes – and maybe all over town.
The zoning code permits uses within single-family zoning districts which include single and multi-family homes, hotels, and day care centers. The code prohibits commercial and industrial uses, but specifies that incidental uses that are “incidental” to the permitted uses are also permitted.
But Veronica Goedhart, the city’s director of special programs compliance, said pool rentals were found to be against code because it’s not listed as a permitted use or considered incidental or incidental to residential use.
Vacation rentals are also not listed as a permitted use in the zoning code, but the city has a separate vacation rental ordinance on the books that allows short-term rentals as long as the home continues to be used primarily for full-time or part-time residents. .
But while Palm Springs has concluded Swimply-style pool rentals are prohibited and says it has notified the company, the company says its services are legal in the city.
“Swimply is not classified by the City of Palm Springs as a short-term rental platform, and as such these regulations, including the insurance requirements that have been set forth for these properties, do not apply. ‘not apply to private pools listed on Swimply,” Emily Torrans, a public relations representative for the company, wrote in an email to The Desert Sun.
Torrans added that Swimply pools are not open to the general public and therefore are not commercial properties. Instead, owners, whom the company calls “hosts,” select who can use their property as private guests. Torrans also noted that Swimply provides all hosts with a $1 million insurance policy.
Goedhart, meanwhile, said City Attorney Jeffrey Ballinger is drafting a letter that will be sent to vacation rental license holders known to use the service advising them that they may be subject to a fine of $500 for it. But for now, the four pools continueD be listed.
Paul Albani-Burgio covers breaking news and the city of Palm Springs. Follow him on Twitter at @albaniburgiop and by email at [email protected]