TOMS RIVER, NJ – In the Orthodox Jewish community, it’s not unheard of for homeowners to rent out their pool to make a little extra cash when they’re not using it. In fact, it’s a chance to earn good money. A website called Swimply helps facilitate those transactions.
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The going rate for a pool rental in and around Toms River is between $45 to $65 per hour, often with hourly minimums set on the rentals.
Swimply is a nationwide company that helps homeowners rent their pools, just like Airbnb allows homeowners to rent pools.
Currently, there are several pool listings in Toms River being advertised on Swimply.
One reads, “Come and enjoy a private gathering of fun in the sun, hanging poolside, surrounded by all things beautiful and serene with your favorite company. This is a spacious, well groomed backyard, the perfect getaway. The area has lots of privacy as the pool backs up to the woods. Please refrain from peeing in the pool. I will gladly allow you to use the bathroom that’s located within the residence. No glass of any kind, for your safety and to ensure compliance with Swimply’s rules.”
This week, after community complaints by some residents in Toms River and surrounding areas were lodged against Orthodox Jewish families renting out their pools for private gatherings, Mayor Maurice Hill acted and reminded residents that pool rentals in Toms River are illegal.
“Several websites, including one called Swimply.com acts as a booking agent between pool owners and swimmers. Homeowners place photos of their pools online and offer to rent them for several hours or the entire day. The Toms River Municipal Code specifically makes this rental illegal. Summonses will be issued for these violations of the Township Ordinance,” Hill said. “Toms River prohibits property owners from renting any “amenities”, including swimming pools. It is also illegal to advertise, either in print or online, the illegal pool rentals. Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill stated, “We have ordinances in place to protect not only the integrity and peacefulness of neighborhoods but the overall health and safety of residents.”
Now, Hill said his underlings will monitor listings on Swimply and investigate the rentals to impose fines.
Mayor Hill has instructed the Township’s Code Enforcement Division as well as the Quality of Life Unit to periodically view these public listings and then issue summonses to homeowners who are violating the local codes.
“In addition to violating the Township Code, these rentals illegally convert private swimming pools into public pools in violation of state, local, and Ocean County Health Department regulations. As well as receiving any locally imposed fines, homeowners who violate the code will be referred to the appropriate state agency for additional enforcement. Additionally, rental of a privately owned pool may compromise their homeowner insurance coverage,” said Mayor Hill.
“Homeowners offering pool rentals should be aware that this is illegal within Toms River,” Hill said. “We also seek to educate residents as to the potential dangers of these illegal rentals.”
Hill is following the lead of now-deceased former Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher, who once called the growth of Orthodox Jewish families in Toms River, “An invasion”.
At the time, Hill was a councilman and stood behind Kelaher’s statement. Kelaher soon began to crack down on pool rentals, predominantly being rented by Jewish homeowners, saying they were bringing renters in by the busloads.
“The neighbors are all complaining. If you have a house in a residential neighborhood and all of a sudden, every day a different busload of people pull up and go running into the place, cheering, noise, happy and everything else, you’re bound to be upset,” Kelaher said in 2019 interview.
Anyone with information on an illegal pool rental should contact the Township’s Code Enforcement Division at 732-341-1000 Extension 8440.
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