In famously drizzly Portland, Oregon the idea of renting out your swimming pool might seem a non-starter.

But a combination of record heatwaves and lockdown has led to a surge of interest in listings on Swimply, an app described as the "Airbnb for pools", in even the most unlikely parts of the US.

"I didn’t know Portland had such a pent-up demand to do the swimming pool thing," Jim Battan, an IT consultant, told the Sunday Telegraph.

He has had 900 bookings – comprising 2,700 users in all – since last September, making him over $100,000 (£73,000).

"I thought we’d just get a few bookings on weekends. A lot of the time it’s small families with young kids. People have been cooped up at home [during the pandemic] and public pools have been closed."

Hundreds of pools, such as Picture of Paradise, in West Linn Oregon, are available for rent on Swimply

Credit: Swimply

Mr Battan’s "pretty normal" pool is one of over 13,000 being rented out through the app across America, and there have been over 120,000 bookings since the start of last year.

Revenue for the company, which takes a cut of bookings, grew 4,000 per cent last year. Pools can be rented for as little as $35 an hour.

The idea has succeeded despite being rejected on Shark Tank, the US version of Dragons’ Den. Bunim Laskin, who co-founded the company aged 20 in 2018, asked the investors on the TV programme for $300,000, but they said no.

In Oklahoma, Steve Borden named his pool "Fort Bordendale" and started renting it out.

"It’s like Airbnb for your pool. We have seen the number of bookings skyrocket over the last week,” he told The Oklahoman newspaper.

People hook a makeshift swimming pool up to a fire hydrant amid a heat wave in Portland


A large part of that is likely being driven by the heatwaves that have been hitting the US in recent weeks as a result of climate change.

The most extraordinary one occurred in the Pacific northwest in June, when normally mild Seattle and Portland saw temperatures of 46C, breaking previous records by more than 5.5C and killing hundreds of people.

The western US has also seen a number of massive wildfires in recent weeks tied to the extremely dry conditions and hot weather.

In Oregon, the so-called Bootleg Fire has already destroyed an area half the size of Rhode Island.

However, another ‘heat dome’ is expected to settle across central America this week, bringing unusually punishing temperatures of 43C to states such as Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It’s set to further drive demand for ways to cool off, whatever the cost.

"I guess people are stuck in apartments or things like that,” Cooky Bali, who rents out her pool in Los Angeles, told KTLA, adding that she had made $7,000.

“They tell us thank you so much, it has saved our life.”