What Constitutes a Luxury Apartment and the Role of Security, Maintenance, and Fair Dealings in Defining Claimed Luxury?
The Flats at Perimeter Center in Dunwoody, connorgroup.com/apartments-atlanta-ga-/flats-at-perimeter-place/, is marketed as a luxury apartment building. The Connor Group, according to its web site, is a nationally recognized real estate investment firm worth $3.7 billion. Connor owns and operates luxury apartment communities like the Flats in 18 cities located across the country.
Google says there is no clear definition for luxury apartment. The realtor’s claim is supposedly based on a unit having high ceilings, large rooms, higher quality materials, gated and / or secured premises. The Flats has few cameras, no fully secured areas, and no security guard or service.
Apartmentguide.com says a luxury apartment is large and spacious and includes everything one could ever want or need. How about basic security and maintenance?
Does the thought of providing basic maintenance and security still enter in to mindsets of today’s realty groups who develop and market luxury apartment properties? I ask because the business model of hawking luxury amenities and skimping on security and maintenance is popular despite placing tenants at possible risk.
At what point do extra fees become gouging? For example, a $199 June (2023) sewer charge to a sixth-floor tenant, then a $139 July sewer charge followed by an August $80 sewer charge, and a $51 sewer charge for September.
In comparison, average fee charges at the Lofts / Drexel Collective over ten years, 2013 – 2023, averaged $90 to $130 which seemed fair or tolerable. There were no sewer fees.
Only $144 of the disputed $199 sewer charge was deleted; the remaining $55 was carried over and caused a $9 late fee charge for August.
Connor / RBS rejected my proposal to delete the $144 disputed amount, apply no more sewer fees, and limit monthly fees to approximately $200 a month which is still high.
See the next RBS bill which includes the disputed $144 carryover, a second late fee on this amount, $51 for more sewer fees for a total of $394.10.
Some tenants are charged a $100 monthly charge for Internet provision. The Flats is a Comcast building and I, as a Comcast customer, am directly charged $46 a month.
The City of Dunwoody has no laws to protect tenants from this abuse so this amount must be paid. Proliferating fees strike me as a kind of license to steal.
I brought this problem to the attention of Dunwoody’s Compliance Code Department. Both Robert Adderly and Carole Helm, Dunwoody Code Enforcement officials, informed me that the city has no existing law that regulates rents or fees.
“This is a civil matter. We suggest hiring a lawyer, or seeking help from volunteer legal aid societies.”
I thanked them for the recommendations but pointed out that the lack of a regulation gave the Connor Group a permit to abuse tenants. They can make up expenses galore to boost gross revenue and profitability.
I’m not sure if my concern registered with Code Enforcement – we’ll see. Regardless, Connor is free to add fees as high as the rental market will bear, or until tenants flee the gouging when their leases expire.
Without security and reliable maintenance, do amenities and assets lose value in the eye of the beholder? I believe so because I value responsive maintenance, security, and fair dealings more than twelve-foot ceilings, crown moldings, double bathroom sinks, terrace / balcony, and rooftop sitting areas that some sociopathic tenants regularly trash.
The Flats rooftop amenities are indeed impressive; two hot tubs, intimate sitting areas, cornholes, table tennis, gas grills, pizza oven and other attractions. Too bad that intruders and some peculiar souls living at the Flats repeatedly love to wreck them.
The Flats, instead of installing strategically placed cameras and a security service to monitor rooftop users, seems to prefer repairing damages.
This picture of the Flats pool is three years old. The pool area, already very nice, was upgraded with a new coat of paint.
The Flats could be a terrific place to live as it is part of the Perimeter Center Place and Ashford Lane open container areas. Many restaurants have opened in the past year and more are on the way.
The management, however polite to tenants, is ineffective and very slow to fix problems. For example, how long should it take a so-called luxury apartment complex to fix a broken toilet? Thirty minutes after the work order is submitted? 24 hours? 48 hours?
Try three days.
How quickly should management be expected to repair problems the new tenant inherited after they moved in? 24 hours? 48 hours? Three weeks?
The answer is never.
How quickly should management be expected to repair security gates? 24 hours? 48 hours? A week?
The average time for security gate repairs averages one to two weeks. In the meantime, intruders occasionally invade the building, trash rooftop amenities then take selfies and put them on Instagram.
My car was egged during a recent invasion and had to be professionally washed to remove egg and shells stuck to it. My request that the Flats reimburse my $55 cost to get the car clean was ignored.
My kitchen sink faucet lost a key plastic piece the day I moved in. Maintenance supposedly ordered it a few days later. The faucet is still dripping seven months later.
The refrigerator has never kept ice cream solid, or regularly produced ice cubes, and constantly drips on the floor every time the freezer section is opened. This is ongoing after five work orders.
I lived at the Lofts at Perimeter Center from 2012 until 2023. The Worthing Company built and owned the property until 2018 when they sold it to Greystar / Blackstone.
Worthing invested heavily in most desired amenities and provided excellent maintenance.
A broken toilet was fixed in thirty minutes; might take a day at most. Burned out light bulbs were changed within an hour, a day at most. Tenants expressed to each other that they felt like they were living in a resort. This was true luxury apartment living.
Unfortunately, this maintenance golden age ended when Worthing sold the Lofts to Greystar / Blackstone. Maintenance and security declined badly and at times disappeared entirely for months.
Of course, non-maintenance can result in disaster; note the Arrive Apartments that ignored gas leak complaints for nearly a year until the complex blew up and injured four people. The Lofts became part of the Drexel Collective that also absorbed the Arrive complex. Drexel renamed Arrive and is marketing it as a luxury apartment complex.
I moved from the Lofts / Drexel Collective on March 1, 2023, because life there had deteriorated. New tenants bother other renters with their loud, selfish, sullen, and even abusive behavior.
Gated security ended, maintenance was a hit and miss affair, and amenities that no one asked for or wanted were developed while tenant needs and wants went unmet.
I moved to the Flats on March 1, 2023 and initially felt lucky to escape multiple problems. I did not expect to learn that the same problems had already infested the Flats @ Perimeter, and discovered new ones like outrageous fees.
Apartment was terribly prepped – list of repairs never really addressed.
My Flats apartment, which has many desirable luxury components, was poorly prepped. The handsome wooden floors were not washed, opium resin spots stained the kitchen floor as the previous tenant was allegedly an opium addict and tar wantonly dripped from their pipe as they perused the space.
The rugs appeared unvacuumed though the bathrooms were decent except for a bad shower stain in the master. Therefore, I was forced to bring in a professional cleaner to get the unit up to standard.
The prepper left scattered tiny paint stains on wooden floors; they did not use a drop cloth or paint tape. Maintenance removed them.
The following image is of stained kitchen cabinet facing / door. It is uncleanable and worse than shown in picture. Management has refused to replace it.
The stove top was disfigured by the previous tenant. A rough unknown texture (cooked opium?) mars the surface and looks terrible. The burners work well enough but a luxury rental rate demands a new stove top. Management thinks differently.
Look top right; observe the one-inch gap between stove and wall – why? Paprika and onion powder spice jars fell into the space so I had to my move spice rack far away. Maintenance is aware but no one has been back to inspect and push to wall.
The washer and dryer work adequately but are older models than the machines I used at the Lofts. Given the high rent and claim of luxury, management should provide tenants with premium models.
The dishwasher broke on October 15, 2023 and a work order was submitted. It took eight days to respond and repair.
Ironically, I have received two survey requests from the Connor Group which asked basic questions like how are they doing and how was my apartment prepped? I gave Connor five well-deserved low grades of POOR.
Proximity to Ashford Lane open container district, Perimeter Mall, and the coming High Street mixed-use project:
The Perimeter Center Place mixed use property has renovated Ashford Lane, a European- style courtyard surrounded by attractive, varied restaurants; Flemings, Hobnobs, Grana, Superica, Hawkers, Jeni’s, Taco Mac, and several others about to open. A Politan food court with ten food choices is opening across from the Manhattan condo tower.
This open container district is attractive, has a nice ambience, and reflects the 15-minute city aim of basic needs all being a quarter hour or less away – convenience and choice. The Flats @ Perimeter are so poorly managed that the apartment building may be putting the current Ashford Lane restaurant takeoff at risk.
Many tenants are unhappy with management and plan to move when their leases expire. With High Street’s 598 new apartments being added to the rental market next February and March 2024, there may be an exodus out of this building and into a brand-new mixed-use facility a tenth of a mile away.
I lived at the Briarcliff Cabana apartments, located at Lavista and Briarcliff Roads from 1973 – 1979. My late wife and I were happy there and only moved because she became pregnant with my son, Sasha, and it seemed time to buy a house.
I lived in that house 34 years and only sold it because my wife, Sue, passed and sad memories ate at me so I moved to the Lofts / Drexel Collective in 2012. I lived there over ten years and only moved because a wonderful place to live deteriorated badly.
I expected the Flats @ Perimeter to be a happy place to spend about five years. The problems that have been endured and management’s indifference about pleasing me enough to sign a new lease are driving me away.
Would you put up with Flats management for another year or would you move to a brand-new place just a stones-throw away?