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Wisconsin regulators drop effort to restrict pool rental app

Perfect neighborhoods, homes, Springtime aerial view at sunrise.
Beautiful, idyllic neighborhoods, homes, Springtime aerial view at sunrise. JamesBrey/Getty Images

Wisconsin regulators drop effort to restrict pool rental app

September 05, 11:00 AM September 05, 11:09 AM

It’s a little late for this swimming season, but folks who own pools in Wisconsin should be able to rent them out next summer without having to add on.

The state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection on Friday quietly backed off demands that anyone using the pool-rental app Swimply meet the same regulations as larger community or commercial pools.

In April, DATCP wrote to Swimply to say any pool rented on the app is a “public pool” subject to DATCP’s licensing and regulatory regime for large public pools. This meant that if the regulations were enforced, Swimply would not be able to operate in Wisconsin due to construction requirements that don’t ordinarily apply to residential pools.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty challenged the interpretation by DATCP, and last week the state backed down.

“Red tape and regulations can so often stifle new and innovative business models. We are grateful that DATCP took a reasonable approach in their review of their regulations and confirmed that Swimply can legally operate in Wisconsin,” WILL’s Luke Berg said.

DATCP did not back down entirely, however. The department responded to WILL that people who rent their pools on Swimply may still face some extra regulations.

“On further review of the administrative code, the Department wishes to clarify that, generally, Swimply’s model of pool owners offering their pools for public use on the Swimply website would not fall under public pool licensing requirements,” DATCP said. “However, whether any particular pool would be subject to public pool licensing requirements would depend on the facts of the situation for each individual pool.”

WILL said Swimply is just like Airbnb or Vrbo, which the state allows homeowners to use to rent out their homes on a short-term basis.

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