BURLINGTON – In the midst of one of the worst housing crises Burlington has ever seen, some local landlords are resorting to renting out “rooms” located on roofs, in garages, and in closets to accommodate the high demand for living quarters. Town health officers have expressed concern over having dozens of people renting a three or four bedroom house, but with no real power or authority provided by the state, they say there’s not much they can do.
“I actually don’t mind,” said UVM student Jason Adreme, who rents a deck roof with three other students. “I love sleeping under the stars, and it fits my minimalist lifestyle. It’s just me, my pillow, and nature. My pillow did get stolen once, so now I keep it with me in my backpack, but otherwise I haven’t had any problems.
Not all students are as comfortable as Adreme, and there have been several neighbor complaints, owing to the excessive noise, trash, and foot traffic that come with having eight to ten times the traditional number of people staying in one area, but local landlords are not concerned.
“We’re doing people a favor here,” said one Burlington landlord who asked not to be identified. “Yeah, I guess some people are going to look at this and think I’m only doing it so I can make thirty grand a month off of one property, but in reality, where else are they going to go? The vacancy rate in this city is so low you’d have to dig to find it. There just isn’t enough housing. So we improvise.”
Code enforcement commented only that the one thing they had little power to do was to enforce codes, but that they would do their best to look into all of the complaints over the next 3-5 years if they had the chance.