“I spoke to the neighbors, and the few things that they complained about were loud music, people double-parked, and people stepping on lawns and flowers,” she said. Now she reminds guests to park legally and avoid the flower beds. She also invested in quieter outdoor speakers, and ends all events at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. So far this year, she said she’s had no issues.
There are legal risks to consider, too. Municipalities and homeowners’ associations may have rules limiting commercial use of residential properties and pools. And a homeowners insurance policy might not cover a claim that violates its terms.
“There is a decent chance that if the use of the swimming pool is not in compliance with governing documents or local or state law, that an insurance company may deny the claim,” said Steven D. Sladkus, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, who also pointed out that a homeowner could face a private-nuisance lawsuit from a disgruntled neighbor.
The companies do provide limited liability insurance for hosts, but they leave them to navigate legal issues and local ordinances on their own.
“We really require hosts to be mindful and compliant” with local laws and homeowner association rules, said Matt Bendett, a founder of San Francisco-based Peerspace, with more than 20,000 active properties on its platform. “It’s really hard for us to do that alone without the host’s cooperation.”
Mr. O’Brien, 47, in Los Feliz, follows his mayor’s Facebook page to keep up on any local issues and uses a decibel meter to make sure the noise never gets out of hand in his 6,000-square-foot backyard, which he transformed into a whimsical retreat, shrouded in a canopy of oak, olive, pecan, fig and citrus trees. The space, which he calls The WithInn, has a full kitchen, lounge area, stage and bar. Mr. O’Brien stays home during the events, monitoring from inside his house, which is mostly private, except when guests enter through a side door to use the bathroom.
This summer, the space has been booked once a week, and the largest event this year has been a 60-guest wedding, said Mr. O’Brien, who earns most of his income renting it out. “What I’ve always wanted was for people to have the wow factor — they come around the corner, they look back and they say, ‘Oh my God, where did this come from? What is this? ’” he said. “Right in the middle of the Hollywood area, there is this space that looks like it’s in another country.”
For $145 an hour, it could be yours for the evening.
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