Burlington landlords: stop gouging students

  Renting in Burlington is more difficult than it should be. For the thousands of students that are looking to live off campus next year, it is already time to begin looking at properties — an absurd eight months before leases begin. High demand —fueled by an ever-growing population of college students in the cityand limited supply of properties—pushes prices skyward. According to data compiled by the nonprofit Center for Housing Policy, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in 200 cities, tiny Burlington ranks 33rd. What is particularly disconcerting is that Burlington beats out much larger cities like Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Chicagoand Minneapolis. Many students do not even consider Burlington a city in the true sense of the word. The Vermont Housing Finance Agency published a report in April that found the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Burlington to be $990, a 7 percent increase since last year and a 58 percent increase since 2000. Spinner Place and Redstone Apartments have done little to alleviate the tight housing situation in Burlington, judging by stagnant vacancy rates and increasing rent. It is unclear what impact the Redstone Lofts, set to open next fall, will have on the renting market in Burlington. In terms of providing students more options for off-campus living, Redstone Lofts are a good investment by the University — the complex will have 403 beds. But if the average rent continues to rise and vacancy rates continue to hover below 1 percent, UVM needs to provide more housing options for juniors and seniors. UVM reached its undergraduate student capacity this year, as per an agreement with the city of Burlington. But this does not mean that the housing situation will necessarily ease — other institutions, like Champlain College, continue to admit more students. UVM is late to the game when it comes to providing housing for all juniors and seniors who want it, and the University should continue to adapt to student needs. But if it doesn’t, The Cynic might just open an apartment complex and cash in.