The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
Burton: It’s a little bit of a unique situation with rising rents in the last year and a half or so. A lot of it obviously has to do with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had the market pretty stagnant for a while with some eviction protections in place and not a lot of turnover, but now we’re seeing that begin to open up. We’re seeing a lot of lease non-renewals, and given that the demand is so high, those units are at a premium. It puts us in a position where, because of market pressures, that we’re going to see rents continue to rise.
But really the issue there is the units are at a premium because our supply is so short. There’s really no way of getting around that. What we’ve seen in the pandemic is, because the market was so tight, because there was such little movement with eviction protections in place, it revealed, one, that our housing market really relied, pre-pandemic, on evictions in order to keep things moving, and two, that we simply don’t have enough units available. Because of that, folks are forced to take shelter in places like motels and other places that are not meant for permanent, stable shelter. Those are the conditions we have currently because we simply don’t have enough units available.