Manitoba Daily

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Manitobans who rent out backyard pools inadvertently violate provincial regulations

Manitobans renting out backyard pools are unintentionally violating provincial regulations.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Public Health Act requires owners to, among other things, seek a permit from a health inspector and provide a lifeguard, much like the City of Winnipeg and YMCA pools are required to do.
  • Stuart Blake, a Winnipeg insurance attorney, wouldn’t rent out his pool if it were his.

Rentals of private swimming pools increased during the pandemic. However, some people who deliberately rent out their backyard swimming holes through applications like Swimply are infringing provincial laws, which raises concerns about how the corporation and the province are informing the public about the requirements.

According to the province, private swimming pools are deemed public as soon as they are rented out.

Like the City of Winnipeg and YMCA pools, proprietors are obliged by The Public Health Act to obtain a permit from a health inspector and provide a lifeguard, among other things.

However, a spokesman stated in an email on Tuesday that the province has not examined any of the private pools that are available for rental.

The statement read, “A commercial pool requires restrooms, showers, lifeguards, lighting, etc., and it is probably too expensive for the domestic pool owner to adapt or upgrade their pool.”

Also read: As per Heather Stefanson, the province is looking at ways to combat inflation

A Manitoban man who rents out his pool through the Swimply app said he was shocked to hear there were stringent provincial regulations.

For fear of retaliation, Global News has decided not to name the man.

He remarked on Wednesday, “I was unaware of this, and I manage my pool safely here.

“When the people arrive, we meet, and I go through all the safety requirements with them. Alcohol is not allowed. It is solely a family-run business.

According to some fresher hosts who joined up this year, Global News said the summer has been quite full.

At least 16 pools in the Winnipeg region were advertised as available for rent on Swimply as of Wednesday morning.

Swimply hasn’t responded to Global News’ several inquiries since Tuesday.

In its user agreement, Swimply stated to Global News last year that hosts must abide by local laws. Before publishing, Global News requested a further explanation from the company regarding how it notifies those who list their pools.

The province said on Tuesday that it had recently mailed notices to Swimply users informing them of the need to abide by the rules, but the hosts Global News contacted to said they hadn’t yet received a letter.

On Wednesday, a provincial spokeswoman declined to comment on enforcement but stated that as AirBnB rentals are not considered pools, the same regulations would not apply to them.

Manitobans renting out backyard pools are unintentionally violating provincial regulations.
Manitobans renting out backyard pools are unintentionally violating provincial regulations. Image from Global News

The Swimming Pools, As Well as other Water Recreational Facilities Regulation (MR 132/97), do not apply to these residences because they are private dwellings, according to the group.

The man Global News spoke with claimed he was dissatisfied because the app gave him a chance to interact with others.

He claimed, “I never agreed to have an illegal business. I’ve met around a dozen incredibly great families while doing this for enjoyment.

Stuart Blake, an insurance attorney in Winnipeg, told Global News that he wouldn’t rent out his pool if it were his.

Every time you rent out your pool to a third party, a significant amount of personal liability worries enter the picture, according to Blake on Tuesday.

“A lawsuit may result if someone is hurt while swimming in your pool, whether drowned or suffered a serious injury.”

Blake strongly advises carefully reading the insurance, although Swimply provides property protection and general liability coverage of up to $1 million.

“All of these insurance policies have limitations in terms of coverage limits and exclusions within the policies. Therefore, if a company provides you host liability insurance for a maximum of $1 million, it may seem like it’s enough, but it isn’t in practice.

According to Blake, claims involving an injured individual may significantly exceed that sum.

Source: CTV News

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