A controversy that began after video posted online showed two busloads of people pulling up to rent a pool for daily use in a residential neighborhood may not be a controversy at all.
Officials say the renting of pools is illegal in Toms River – except, of course, in the case where a person rents an entire home and grants access to its pool. A new website “Swimply,” acts as a conduit between pool owners and would-be swimmers. The site allows homeowners to put photos of their pools online and offer them for rent between certain hours and days of the week. Toms River’s municipal ordinances, however, prohibit the lease of pools.
While pool rentals may sound benign, they can be abused if large crowds inundate a small street, some township residents say. The conversation gained traction after a resident posted a video from her street on Facebook, showing two full-size charter buses parked in front of a residential home whose pool was apparently being rented for the day.
Purportedly, the practice of pool rentals has become popular in neighboring Lakewood’s Orthodox Jewish community and is more common there, leading to concern that pool rentals, though illegal in Toms River, could proliferate locally. Another photo posted online showed a pool safety sign advising swimmers to call the number of Lakewood Hatzollah – an Orthodox-run ambulance service – in an emergency instead of 911, which elicited additional concern from some online commenters.
Toms River bars the rental of pools under its short-term rental ordinance, last revised in 2017 to address Airbnb properties. That ordinance bans the “rental of amenities” only.
“The lease or rental, for any purpose, of any amenity, feature, accessory, or appurtenance to or associated with a dwelling is prohibited,” the ordinance states.
The same ordinance imposes an additional violation on anyone who advertises, including online, any rental that is not compliant.
“We’re aware of it,” Township Administrator Don Guardian said, of Swimply and pool rental violations in town. “You can’t rent out your pool, your shed, anything like that.”
Guardian said residents should call the township’s Code Enforcement division (732-341-1000) to report illegal pool rentals, including if they are being advertised in advance.
“We’ll send out code enforcement – give us the date and we’ll be there,” he said.
On Monday night, Shorebeat searched the Swimply site for pool rentals in Toms River this Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. No pools turned up in Toms River. Locally, there were six available in Lakewood, one in Jackson and one in Brick.