Originally posted on the Charlotte Agenda by Kylie Moore on March 20, 2017

During my latest round of apartment hunting, I found Vistas @ 707 via apartments.com. In my range for rent, in a convenient location and complete with the amenities I was looking for, I packed up and headed over for a tour.

Walking in, I was asked how much I made per year – a strange question, and one that I’d had yet to be asked. I told them, only to be shown the door because I made too much money to rent there.

I was dumbfounded. An apartment that looked just like mine, which I’m, admittedly, scraping by to afford as it is, that I made too much money to live in?

As it turns out, Vistas @ 707, located at 707 Seigle Avenue just on the other side of I-277 from Uptown, is part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

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The program is in partnership with the Charlotte Housing Authority and is part of an effort to provide affordable living to those making less than 80% of area median household income.

“There are several different areas when it comes to affordable housing because you have public housing, which is based off of income, and then you have restricted income and neighborhood stabilization programs and section 8 housing and subsidies,” property manager April Kiker explained to me. “With this particular community, we don’t participate in any subsidies, but we are restricted income, which means that based off of how many people are going to be living in the house, there are guidelines as to what the limits are, so residents need to fall within that amount of money.”

There are two categories under which residents can fall: under 80% of area median income, which ranges from $37,550 for a one-person family to $62,200 for a 6-person family and under 50% of media area income, which ranges from $23,450 for a one-person family to $38,900 for a 6-person family.

Both are eligible for identical 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments. The only difference between the two is that those above the 50% mark but below 80% are the only residents eligible for a studio.

It’s important to note that these qualifications were determined the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which means that the leasing office can’t make exceptions.

Rent for a resident at the 50% mark ranges from $650 – $951 while those at the 80% mark pay a bit more, with rents varying between $790 – $1,400. As at other apartment communities around the city, there are additional fees, like application and administrative fees as well as valet waste and pet fees.

And that’s where the differences between the Vistas @ 707 and an apartment in, say, Uptown, end.

The amenities are all there: residents enjoy a saltwater pool with a sundeck, yoga studio, fitness center, controlled access, modern kitchens, stainless steel appliances and plank flooring. And so are the residents, with most of the 190 units filled at a 92.63% occupancy rate, 95.26% pre-lease rate and a retention rate of 40%.

“When you really think about it, and think about all those different communities in Charlotte, why shouldn’t it be just as nice?” said Janette Hendershot, regional manager of RKW, the group that manages the community.

Take a look around:

Floor plans look just like any other apartment’s:

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And so do, really, the apartments themselves. This is a one-bedroom:

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