The Virginia-Highland neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia was founded in the early 20th Century as a streetcar community. The locus and origin of the name is the commercial district at the intersection of Virginia and North Highland Avenues. Its bounded on the north by Morningside, east by Emory Village, on the south by Poncey-Highland and on the west by Piedmont Park and Midtown.
Unlike other neighborhoods like Inman and Grant Parks, this neighborhood never really faltered during Atlanta’s intown downturn in the 1960s. In the late 1960s a highway was proposed to connect what is now Freedom Parkway through the neighborhood to I-85 and Stone Mountain and Va-Hi residents, along with those of Inman Park and Morningside were instrumental in defeating the project. The residents were successful and became a political force to be reckoned with in city politics. In fact, the current NPU system is an outgrowth from the defeat of I-485. The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum on the very hill that was to be the major interchange between the new bypass and another new highway that would have led to Stone Mountain. The remnants of both of these cleared rights-of-way made Freedom Park possible.
Today, the neighborhood is prosperous with many restaurants and shops and hosts its major festival, Summerfest, the first Saturday of June.
Culturally, Virginia-Highland has recently become a small musical epicenter, home of the “Grape Tree” scene which produced a plethora of small, mostly inconsequential garage-rock bands as well as a handful of not-so-inconsequential artists, most notably Supreeme, an internationally-themed rap group, and The Good Moods, a locally-themed mariachi group.
When searching for a new apartment make sure to take your time to think through what are the most important things to you in an apartment and plan your search based on those priorities. Here are some things to consider when planning your move:
1. Consider the areas where you would like to live
* What is the crime rate?
* If you have children – what rating does the local school system have?
* Is there area convenient shopping, health and recreation services in the area?
2. Make a list of your housing priorities
* Do you have pets?
* Do you need parking?
* Do you need to be on the ground floor?
* What amenities are important to you – swimming pool, fitness room, in unit laundry?
3. Evaluate the building
* What is the condition of the unit and building?
* Are the grounds maintained?
* Are windows, steps, and railings in good condition?
* View the property at night. Is it safe and well lit?
4. The security of the property
* Are there security service? When is the guard on duty?
* Does the building have controlled access?
* Does each unit have secure door and window locks?
5. Talk to the neighbors
* Ask other residents whether they are satisfied with the building.
* Who is allowed to use the amenities?
* When are they open?
* Are the fees charged to use those facilities included in rent?
7. Ask about Utilities
* Does the owner or tenant pay the utility bills?
* Are any utilities included with monthly rent?
* Do units have separate thermostats to control heat and air conditioning?
8. Review the lease
* How much notice must you give before moving out?
* Can the rent be increased? If so, by how much and how often?
* Are pets allowed?
* What is the security deposit and cleaning costs upon move out?
* What is the responsibility of tenants for damage to property?
* Is there a penalty for breaking a lease?
9. Information too bring to a lease signing
* Credit Report
* Pay stubs/tax returns
More Apartment Information
An apartment (or flat in Britain and most other Commonwealth countries) is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building. Apartments may be owned (by an owner-occupier) or rented (by tenants).
Some apartment-dwellers own their apartments, either as co-ops, in which the residents own shares of a corporation that owns the building or development; or in condominiums, whose residents own their apartments and share ownership of the public spaces. Most apartments are in buildings designed for the purpose, but large older houses are sometimes divided into apartments. The word apartment connotes a residential unit or section in a building. Apartment building owners, lessors, or managers often use the more general word units to refer to apartments. Units can be used to refer to rental business suites as well as residential apartments. When there is no tenant occupying an apartment, the lessor is said to have a vacancy. For apartment lessors, each vacancy represents a loss of income from rent-paying tenants for the time the apartment is vacant (i.e., unoccupied). Lessors’ objectives are often to minimize the vacancy rate for their units. The owner of the apartment typically transfers possession to the occupant by giving him/her the key to the apartment entrance door and any other keys need to live there, such as a common key to the building or any other common areas, and an individual unit mailbox key. When the occupant move out, these keys should typically be returned to the owner.
Apartments can be classified into several types. Studio, efficiency, bed-sit, or bachelor apartments tend to be the smallest apartments with the cheapest rents in a given area. These kinds of apartment usually consist mainly of a large room which is the living, dining, and bedroom combined. There are usually kitchen facilities as part of this central room, but the bathroom is its own smaller separate room. Moving up from the efficiencies are one-bedroom apartments where one bedroom is a separate room from the rest of the apartment. Then there are two-bedroom, three-bedroom, etc. apartments. Small apartments often have only one entrance/exit. Large apartments often have two entrances/exits, perhaps a door in the front and another in the back. Depending on the building design, the entrance/exit doors may be directly to the outside or to a common area inside, such as a hallway. Depending on location, apartments may be available for rent furnished with furniture or unfurnished into which a tenant usually moves in with his/her own furniture. Permanent carpeting is often included in an apartment.
Laundry facilities are usually kept in a separate area accessible to all the tenants in the building. Depending on when the building was built and the design of the building, utilities such as water, heating, and electric may be common for all the apartments in the building or separate for each apartment and billed separately to each tenant (however, many areas in the US have ruled it illegal to split a water bill among all the tenants, especially if a pool is on the premises). Outlets for connection to telephones are typically included in apartments. Telephone service is optional and is practically always billed separately from the rent payments. Cable television and similar amenities are extra also. Parking space, air conditioner, and extra storage space may or may not be included with an apartment. Rental leases often limit the maximum number of people who can reside in each apartment. On or around the ground floor of the apartment building, a series of mailboxes are typically kept in a location accessible to the public and, thus, to the letter-carrier too. Every unit typically gets its own mailbox with individual keys to it. Some very large apartment buildings with a full-time staff may take mail from the mailman and provide mail-sorting service. Near the mailboxes or some other location accessible by outsiders, there may be a buzzer (equivalent to a doorbell) for each individual unit. In smaller apartment buildings such as two- or three-flats, or even four-flats, garbage is often disposed of in trash containers similar to those used at houses. In larger buildings, garbage is often collected in a common trash bin or dumpster. For cleanliness or minimizing noise, many lessors will place restrictions on tenants regarding keeping pets in an apartment.
In some parts of the world, the word apartment is used generally to refer to a new purpose-built self-contained residential unit in a building, whereas the word flat means a converted self-contained unit in an older building. An industrial, warehouse, or commercial space converted to an apartment is commonly called a loft.
When part of a house is converted for the ostensible use of a landlord’s family member, the unit may be known as an in-law apartment or granny flat, though these (sometimes illegally) created units are often occupied by ordinary renters rather than family members. In Canada these suites are commonly located in the basements of houses and are therefore normally called basement suites.
Staying in privately owned apartments rather than in a hotel is quickly becoming popular with travelers.