Swimming pools, RVs, farms and boats: Peer-to-peer rentals take cues from Airbnb

Travel planning is becoming more streamlined to benefit both travelers and those looking to make extra cash.

There are companies now that let travelers rent private pools, campsites, boats and outdoor recreation in an Airbnb-style fashion. In turn, owners can make money by being a host to underutilized pools, RVs, farms and vacant land used to host campsites.

Airbnb’s accommodations span over 6 million places in 191 countries, while HomeAway offers over 2 million places to stay in 190 countries. With this massive peer-to-peer renting popularity, other major businesses are jumping on the trip-sharing bandwagon.

Peer-to-peer rentals that go beyond rooms are available all over the world: you can rent a private pool in Australia; pitch a tent on a designated campsite in San Diego; or embark on a kayak tour in Norway.

Here are seven peer-to-peer rentals to consider for your next vacation:

Glamping Hub: Treehouses, vintage trailers and more

A portal for unique outdoor accommodations, Glamping Hub offers over 35,000 peer-to-peer glamping rentals — glamping is where camping and luxury meet: distinct amenities are added to enhance a rugged, outdoor overnight experience. Travelers can select accommodations that range from a vintage glamping trailer in Los Angeles or tiny house vacation rental in Flagstaff, Arizona, to a restored vintage Airstream in Georgia or a houseboat rental in Sarasota, Florida.

A Glamping Hub accommodation: A Tree House Glamping Getaway In Halkidiki Greece

A Glamping Hub accommodation: A Tree House Glamping Getaway In Halkidiki Greece (Photo: Glamping Hub)

GetMyBoat: Boats and water experiences

From a catamaran in California to a kayak in Croatia, GetMyBoat features over 130,000 types of boats and water experiences that can be booked in 184 countries. Travelers can book everything from houseboat rentals and private sailing lessons to whale watching tours in Mexico and sea kayaking tours in Greece

Boat renters can download the GetMyBoat app or go to the website in order to search by area and sort boats and experiences by type, price and guest count. 

Quest Catamaran Sailing Charters in US Virgin Islands

Swimply: Rent a pool

Looking to get wet this summer? Swimply lets water-lovers rent out private pools in the U.S. and Australia. The online marketplace for pool sharing allows non-pool owners affordable access to pools of different sizes and locations, while allowing pool owners to produce income from their underutilized pool.

Some listings on the website include a pools at people’s home that will host up to 30 guests in Palmetto Bay, Florida; up to 40 guests in West Hills, California; and a pool and hot tub rental in the Bronx, New York, for up to 12 people.

When you rent from Swimply, guests are responsible for leaving the pool and personal items in the condition it was when you arrived.

Swimply lets people rent out private pools in the U.S. and Australia.

Swimply lets people rent out private pools in the U.S. and Australia. (Photo: Swimply)

Farm Stay USA: Pay to stay and work on a farm

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on a farm? Farm Stay USAprovides overnight stays on working farms and ranches all over the country. The farmer is still on the farm during overnight stays since they are working businesses. Each listing provides information on the property, livestock and agriculture on site and the activities and accommodations available.

In Hamilton, Montana, you can stay at ABC Acres, which focuses on sustainable and organic food raising; go hiking and bird watching at Blind Buck Valley Farms in Salem, New York; or feed horses and drive tractors at Scurlock Farms in Georgetown, Texas. 

Many states have limited-liability agritourism laws that apply to all farm visitors, which generally hold farmers harmless from trip-and-fall types of accidents to discourage petty lawsuits but do not cover gross negligence on the part of the farmer. Each farm stay varies in terms of meals, activities, lodging and amenities.

A Farm Stay USA experience: milking cows at Hullo Farms in Durham, New York

A Farm Stay USA experience: milking cows at Hullo Farms in Durham, New York (Photo: Farm Stay USA)

Tentrr: Camping on private land

For camping enthusiasts, Tentrr allows private owners to rent out extra land. Tentrr has backcountry sites, which allow campers to pitch their own tent on private and secluded land and Tentrr Signature sites, where Tentrr installs a fully-equipped campsite on a property.

The Tentrr Signature campsites come with a canvas wall tent on an elevated platform, bed, wood stove, Adirondack chairs, fire pit, grill, picnic table, sun shower and camp toilet. Tentrr has more than 600 fully-equipped sites across 35 states. Sites start at $25 per night for backcountry and $100 per night for Tentrr Signature.

A Tentrr Signature campsite

A Tentrr Signature campsite (Photo: Tenrr)

RVshare: From pet-friendly RVs to luxury motor homes

For those that crave outdoor adventure, a weekend of camping, long road trip or a cross-country tour of national parks, you can book transit on RVshare, which touts itself as the first and largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace. The platform offers over 100,000 vehicles, that range from towable RVs, drivable RVs and pet-friendly RVs to luxury motor homes.

You enter a pickup location and dates that you would like to rent the vehicle (you must drop off the RV at the same location you booked it). For example, there are over 500 bookable California rentals; over 400 RVs in Michigan; and over 900 RVs in Washington State.

Each rental is different. Some owners provide linens, bedding and towels, while others will require renters to stock the RV or offer kitchen and bedding packages at an extra cost. Other costs include gas and RV park fees.

2016 Airstream

Boatsetter: Rent a boat (with a captain)

With a portfolio of over 5,000 boats ranging from small runabouts and houseboats to larger yachts by owners, Boatsetter is a peer-to-peer rental company used to rent boats directly from owners. One can search for boats either by location or based on the desired activity, such as celebrating, cruising, fishing and other sports. There is also an area to mark where you need a captain to operate the rental.

Examples of rentable boats include a Sea Ray Sports Yacht in Miami; a Malibu Boats Wakesetter in Hawley, Pennsylvania; and Bayliner 2655 Ciera Sunbridge in Florida, New York.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/2019/06/04/airbnb-style-rentals-include-swimming-pools-rvs-farms-and-boats/1210466001/

Forbes: Why Short-Term Rentals Are Real Estate Investing’s Future

One of my favorite ways to invest in real estate is through short-term rentals (STR). Websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO are gaining market share each year as people become more familiar with the process. We’re still in the beginning stages of this type of investing. If you are an early adopter, there is a huge opportunity to maximize your ROI.

Before we can understand when and why STRs are a great way to invest, we need to first acknowledge that there are some downsides to consider. One big issue is that cities and counties around the U.S. are still trying to figure out how to regulate it. I’m in Las Vegas, Nevada, where short-term rentals are extremely regulated, and obtaining a license to lease them out is almost impossible at this point. The big reason here is the hotels run the city, and officials want people staying on the strip, spending money. Ordinances have passed that make it harder for people to host STRs.

Because of that, I don’t have any STRs here in Las Vegas. You don’t want to be in a constant battle with the city. It’s much better to go where there aren’t as many regulations to fight against. You want to find a market whose economy is dependent on STRs. For example, all of the STRs I own are in Big Bear, California where hotels are scarcer, so STRs are necessary to fit all the tourists coming in. I love that market, and there are many others just like it throughout the U.S.

Assuming you find a market that fits your criteria, this type of investing can offer huge benefits:

1. Higher Returns

In the right market, the returns on short-term rentals are much higher than long-term rentals. One of my properties grosses $4,000 a month on average. If it were available for long-term rental, it would earn $1,500 per month. With STRs there comes more management work and fees, but even taking that into consideration, the net is usually going to be higher than if you rented the unit long-term.

Again, every market is different. So it is possible that your market would have similar rental returns on both short- and long-term. But, you probably wouldn’t be investing in that market in this way. I suggest networking and talking to people in your market who have STRs to see how they’re doing to get a feel for the climate.

2. Personal Use

My favorite part about STRs is that you, the owner, can also use them whenever you want to have fun, check on your properties and look for new potential units. If they were being rented long-term, you wouldn’t have the ability to use them.

It’s a great way to have a second home that earns you income every month. The only “problem” is when they are booked so much that you have to schedule your own visit far in advance. It’s a great problem to have as an investor.

3. Diversified Risk

I believe STRs are less risky because your tenants are diversified. With a traditional long-term rental, if your tenant stops paying rent, you have a big problem on your hands. You won’t be getting any monthly income until you can evict them. If they cause any damage, you’re going to be out even more money.

With an STR, you don’t have to worry about evicting a tenant. You have many different tenants every month generating income, so you don’t run the risk of going months without receiving a check. Also, if a tenant does cause damage, some STR rental sites have insurance coverage for the damages the tenants cause. From my experience, instances of major damage from short-term renters are few and far between. It’s typically small things like a broken dish or lamp.

If you’re ready to get started on your STR portfolio, these are the top three traits to look for when picking a market:

1. Location: Is it located somewhere you can easily manage? Would you like to vacation there yourself? Can you build a team there?

2. ROI: How much are properties in that market selling for? How much are they renting for on short- and long-term basis?

3. Legislation: Is the market STR friendly? Is there any upcoming legislation that could change the dynamic and put your investment at risk?

Clearly, I’m a big believer in STRs. I think they will continue to gain even more market share as time goes on. There will be more regulations as it becomes a bigger business, but the early adopters can cash in on some great opportunities.


Florida bill would prevent local restrictions on vacation rentals

As Orange County and Orlando look into allowing short-term home rentals under some conditions, a bill filed in Tallahassee might take that choice away from them entirely.

Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, introduced a bill last week that would strip local governments of the right to regulate short-term vacation rentals such as Airbnb and give all such power to the state.

Stuebe’s bill, which did not have a companion bill in the House as of Tuesday, states property owners have “constitutionally protected” rights to use their residential properties as vacation rentals.

“Vacation rentals play a significant, unique, and critical role in Florida’s tourism industry, and that role is different from that of public lodging establishments,” it states.

If the bill passes during the upcoming state legislative session that begins next week, it would have a major impact on Central Florida cities and counties.

Current law prevents any new restrictions on short-term rentals but allows older laws from before 2011 to be grandfathered in. Under that law, both Orlando and Orange County currently ban short-term rentals of less than 30 days.

Both are looking into allowing “hosted” rentals, in which the owners stay on property. The Orlando city planning board approved such a change in November, with staff drafting an ordinance to be voted on by the City Council.

Orange County is looking into how other places have dealt with short-term rentals before the commission decides to make a decision on hosted rentals.

Under Steube’s bill, such local discussions would be for naught. All regulation and control of such rentals would be “preempted to the state,” with owners needing to obtain a license every year. A license would not be able to be transferred from one place or owner to another.

The state could refuse to issue or renew a license if an owner has been found guilty of crimes ranging from soliciting prostitution to dealing drugs.

While local governments couldn’t create any additional restrictions, local law enforcement would be required to help the state go after any illegally operated rentals.

A spokesman for the Travel Technology Association, an industry trade group that includes Airbnb on its board, said they were aware of Steube’s bill and were taking a look at it.

TTA vice president Matt Kiessling said last month he thinks vacation rentals should be allowed with no conditions. Any restrictions are due to “antiquated laws,” he said, and limiting it to hosted rentals would be difficult to enforce.

“Whether it’s a primary or secondary residence, it’s irrelevant,” Kiessling said. “Owners should be able to do as they wish with their properties.”

The bill is just one of several controversial bills Steube has filed in the past few months, including one that would prevent local governments from enforcing protections on treesand one that would eliminate Daylight Saving Time.

slemongello@orlandosentinel.com, 407-418-5920 or @stevelemongello