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City of Palm Springs prohibits listings on ‘Swimply’ short rental service

As the Coachella Valley continues to be a popular area for vacation rentals, some cities are starting to crack down on rental services.

Palm Springs recently announced the city is prohibiting Vacation Rental permit holders from listing their pools on the 'Swimply' application. You can read more on 'Swimply' here.

Like many vacation rental homeowners throughout the valley, Ivanna Wynn, tells me she was excited about the opportunity to make some extra cash by renting out her pool using 'Swimply.'

"It's so warm outside, especially in the summer and it's kind of like low season in general, so maybe locals would want to enjoy the pools," says Wynn.

Wynn lists her vacation rental home, the 'Senoritas House' through other platforms.

She says her backyard meets the city's vacation rental ordinance by including safety measures like pool signage and a fire extinguisher.

But we had some questions about the liabilities while renting from 'Swimply,' an app described as an Airbnb for backyard pools.

I asked Veronica Goedhart, Special Program Compliance Director for the City of Palm Springs who is held responsible if someone gets injured on the property while renting.

Goedhart explained, "For short term rentals, it is the responsibility of the homeowner and they are required to have insurance. So we did do some investigation into the 'Swimply' app and insurance is optional."

She explains because insurance is optional while renting through 'Swimply' it's not permitted by the city. You can read more on the insurance offered by the company here.

"They will help the homeowner if they're sued, but it's not required. So it's a very different liability aspect for using the 'Swimply' app as opposed to a registered vacation rental."

Just days after we reached Palm Springs about the rental of backyard pools, the city sent a message to Swimply telling the company the commercial rental of residential pools is not permitted.

Goedhard says that vacation rental permit holders that list their pools on the app, "Can be cited $500 for violating the city's municiple code," and can receive a "strike" against the property.

Visitors can still rent homes and use the backyards as long as they're using a rental service that's been approved by the city.

That will be the case for homeowners like Wynn.

Swimply was able to provide a statement to News Channel 3 regarding the City of Palm Springs' regulations.

Swimply shared the following:

  • Swimply pools are not open to the general public therefore not commercial property. Homeowners select who is able to use their property as their private guests.
  • To-date we are not classified by the city as a short-term rental therefore regulations, including insurance, set forth for such properties do not apply to private pools listed on Swimply. Therefore, Swimply is in current legal standing in the community and listings should not be prohibited.

You can learn more about Ivana Wynn's here. 'Señoritas House' here.

We also attached the City of Palm Springs' 'Good Neighbor Brochure' listing guidelines for visitors and vacation rentals below.

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Bianca Ventura

Bianca Ventura joined KESQ News Channel 3 as a reporter in February 2022.


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