How about you rent my pool for an hour or two?
Do you have a great swimming pool in your garden? Or a secret garden? Or maybe a cabin with an outdoor fireplace? It could be summer to cash in, as a handful of apps make it easy to rent the outdoors by the hour.
Carmen Sanchez rented the saltwater pool in her backyard in Queens, New York, up to three times a day on a pool-sharing app called Swimply. In Sherman Oaks, Calif., Vassil Ananiev earns $ 25,000 per month renting his 2,000 square foot home with pool and cabana on event rental apps like Splacer. And in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, Danny O’Brien responds to daily requests for the Peerspace event space for its jungle-like backyard, where guests can host birthdays, weddings, bridal showers, and funerals. .
“The past three months have been insane,” said Ananiev, who charges between $ 150 and $ 200 an hour to access his three-bedroom home, which also has a hot tub, outdoor fireplace and a breathtaking view of the San Fernando Valley. “I guess people are so sick of being stuck at home. They want to get out.
Homeowners across the country are looking to their pools, hot tubs, tennis courts and gardens as a source of income at a time when people want to congregate with friends in safe outdoor places during this second pandemic summer. .
Some owners are turning to a cottage industry of apps that do with event rentals what Airbnb has done with overnight rentals. With the right equipment, almost any place can become a party spot. Owners list their properties on the apps, rent them by the hour, and businesses in turn charge host and guest fees.
May Choi-Steele has booked Sanchez’s pool in Fresh Meadows, Queens, five times since last summer so her 11-year-old son could have a safe and private place to swim alone or with friends. “I was not really comfortable with the swimming pools in the city; the water is generally cooler and it is much more crowded, ”said Choi-Steele, who lives five minutes from Sanchez’s house. On her first visit she was wowed by the outdoor shower and bathroom and immediately booked it again. “I said to myself: ‘This is so perfect’. “
But Sanchez, a paralegal, is often solid reserved. And then there’s the cost: she charges $ 75 an hour for the first five guests and $ 10 an hour for each additional guest. Others charge more. But Choi-Steele says it’s worth it. “If you want to throw a party at Chuck E. Cheese, it’s probably the same amount of money, but it’s a different experience,” she said. In a private pool, ‘you can order food or have it prepared. It’s a much more intimate experience than taking the kids to an arcade.
Reservations are pouring in.
At Peerspace, available in all 50 states, outdoor spaces are the fastest growing category, with searches up 360% in June 2021 from the same time last year and up 550 % from 2019. So far this summer, Swimply, which is available in 125 markets, has recorded over 61,000 bookings, compared to 36,981 for all of 2019. The app also plans to start listing tennis courts, basketball courts and private gymnasiums. On Splacer, outdoor spaces now represent 30% of site reservations.
“Exterior demands, like backyards and rooftops, have doubled since the summer of 2019,” said Adi Biran, CEO of New York-based Splacer with 5,000 properties in New York, Miami, Chicago , San Francisco and Atlanta.
Turning your garden into a place of perpetual celebration can be lucrative. Some Peerspace hosts with large outdoor space have earned $ 60,000 in rentals since April, according to the company. Sanchez said she was making $ 2,500 a week renting her pool in Queens this summer. She hired an assistant who sanitizes the outdoor tables, bathroom and shower, and washes the pool between events.
Hosts need to balance the demands of guests who pay extra to have a good time and those of neighbors who might not appreciate living next to an unofficial club. Open up your house for parties, and you might have to deal with people who book a 20-guest bridal party, and then show up with a 45-guest bachelorette party.
“Even if you meet people, they always lie; they always minimize what they are going to do, ”said Ananiev, who insists on meeting the guests before the events. “They say they’re bringing 20 people; the next thing you know, they bring a friend, and their friend bring a friend, and the next thing you know, it’s 40. The last few months I’ve been saying to people, ‘Look, this is 20 people. If you bring 21, the 21st person goes home. “
Ananiev spends most of the evenings in his room while people he does not know take over the rest of his property. His 7-year-old daughter, who lives with him half the time, is not happy with the arrangement. “Lately, because it’s been so many things, she doesn’t really like it,” he said. “She asks, ‘Is the bathroom clean? Is it clean? ‘ “
So Ananiev, who derives most of his income from holiday rentals, builds a one-bedroom accessory accommodation, or ADU, above his garage where he and his daughter can eventually retire.
Sanchez adopted new rules after last summer when police showed up on several occasions at his property, which also has a kitchen, fireplace and living area.
“I spoke to the neighbors, and the few things they complained about were loud music, people double parked and people walking on lawns and flowers,” she said. Now she reminds customers to park legally and avoid flower beds. It has also invested in quieter outdoor speakers and ends all events at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. So far this year, she said she hasn’t had any issues.
There are also legal risks to be taken into account. Municipalities and homeowner’s associations may have rules restricting the commercial use of residential properties and swimming pools. And a home insurance policy may not cover a claim that violates its terms.
“There is a good chance that if the use of the pool does not comply with the governing documents or with local or state law, an insurance company can deny the claim,” said Steven Sladkus, a Manhattan real estate attorney, who also pointed out that a landlord could face a private nuisance lawsuit from a disgruntled neighbor.
Companies provide limited liability insurance for hosts, but they let them handle legal issues and local ordinances on their own.
“We really do require hosts to be responsive and compliant” with local laws and the rules of homeowners associations, ”said Matt Bendett, founder of San Francisco-based Peerspace, with more than 20,000 active properties on his platform. “It’s really hard for us to do it on our own without the host’s cooperation.”
O’Brien, in Los Feliz, follows his mayor’s Facebook page to stay on top of any local issues and uses a decibel meter to make sure the noise never gets out of hand in his 6,000 backyard. square feet, which he transformed into a whimsical retreat, surrounded by a canopy of oaks, olive trees, pecans, fig trees and citrus. The space, which he calls The WithInn, has a full kitchen, sitting area, stage, and bar. O’Brien stays at home during events, watching over the interior of his home, which is mostly private except when guests enter through a side door to use the bathroom.
This summer, the space has been booked once a week, and this year’s biggest event was a 60-guest wedding, said O’Brien, who earns most of his income from renting it out. “What I’ve always wanted is for people to have the wow factor; they come around the corner, they look back, and they say, ‘Oh, my God, where did that come from? What is that?’ “He said.” Right in the middle of the Hollywood district, there’s this space that looks like it’s in another country.
For $ 145 an hour, he could be yours for the evening.