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Private Pool Rentals Surface in Cape May

By Vince Conti

CAPE MAY – In the last year, several municipalities have been busy devising ways to regulate safety issues involved in the transient rental marketplace, a part of the sharing economy serviced by apps like Airbnb. Simultaneously, these townshave also looked for ways to recover the cost of municipal services.
Cape May City Council Aug. 3 heard things are changing faster than local governments can react. Before the transient rental marketplace, towns wrestled with safety and regulatory issues around ride-sharing apps. Now, there’s something new in town.
Ever thought of throwing a pool party but don’t have a pool? There’s an app for that. 
A new entrant into the sharing mix is renting private pools by the hour. 
The young company providing the connections between pool owners and would-be renters is called Swimply. Its founders pitched the idea on “Shark Tank” last year.
The city’s governing body heard that an individual could rent a private pool in the city for $50 an hour, plus $5 for each guest over 5. Amenities, like Wi-Fi and a barbecue grill, are available for an additional fee.
Should this be a licensed activity? Should there be safety inspections? Are there health codes that apply? What, if any, are the potential liability issues for the municipality if it regulates nothing? These and many other issues appeared on the council’s plate.
This does not appear to be problematic now, as the county is not crowded with pools for rent. Yet, anyone who has watched the rapid growth of other sharing concepts will find it hard to bet against the possibility there may be more than a handful of pools for rent in the county next summer.
Towns will likely need to figure out what their posture should be, as this sharing phenomenon expands.

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