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Local vacation rentals feeling the economic impact

Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 00:04:35-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Families that use their homes as vacation rentals to help survive financially are taking a significant hit.

A South Bay family tells 10News the coronavirus pandemic and state Stay At Home order temporarily ended their small business.

"We were living the American dream until this happened about two weeks ago," said Chris Morrow.

About six years ago, before the housing market got hot, Chris and her husband Marty leveraged their money and bought a home in Chula Vista.

They turned the charm of the house into a small business: an Airbnb rental. It's a move that drastically changed their life. They were regularly hosting large groups and even had a wedding in the backyard.

Chris said before COVID-19, their house was booked every weekend heading into spring break. Now things have changed.

"Nobody is booking anything for the foreseeable future," Marty said. "So right now, we don't know what to expect when it's going to happen again."

At $1,000-plus a night, with a two-night minimum, that loss of income they've relied on could be backbreaking.

"We're going through our budget and trying to find ways to cut corners," Marty said. "The expenses, of course, are lower, but our income is lower and we have to do what we can to make it."

Instead of waiting to see how everything shakes out, the Morrow's are trying to use the tools they do have to make some money.

Chris and Marty are currently living on their boat, something made possible from the Airbnb income.

They are using the luxury of being out on the water to document their life through YouTube videos. The pair are recoding what they see along the way.

"Every day, we're doing a temperature check on video, and we're also talking about our daily diary," Chris said.

Some of their recent videos include an interview line outside of local Amazon building, sunrises on the bay, and what life is like living on a boat.

They're hoping the videos might eventually be able to be monetized because right now, they don't know when the rental business will be back with bookings.

"There's just so many things going on, so diversifying is the way to go right now," Chris said.

Airbnb has a section on its website answering questions for hosts and guests.