2020-05-03 —

Smaller players have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each buying homes for short-term rentals. Jennifer Kelleher-Hazlett of Clawson, Mich., spent about $380,000 to buy two Michigan properties in 2018. She said she and her husband cashed out their financial investments and borrowed $100,000 from employers to furnish them.

The 47-year-old expected to net up to $7,000 a month from Airbnb after mortgage payments, supplementing her income as a part-time pharmacist and her husband's as a schoolteacher. Before the virus struck, the couple was considering buying more homes. Now, they can't make mortgage payments because no one is booking, she said. "We're either borrowing more or defaulting."

What makes Airbnb such an appealing prospect is that payoff. At up to $7,000 a month, Kelleher-Hazlett and her husband likely, and reasonably, in the Before COVID-19 times, to recoup their initial investment and pay off their bosses in less than three years. Now they're on the verge of losing everything.

Larger players, such as Jennifer and David Landrum of Atlanta, who are on the hook for 39 properties while tourism and the city's ever-growing entertainment industry are at a halt, are on the verge of selling their house to make ends meet. What an ironic horror.

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