Besides being the biggest, not to mention the most populous city in California, Los Angeles offers many things to attract potential residents, such as profitable job opportunities, excellent options for food and recreation, and of course, the chance to live close to stunning beaches, and in the heart of the movie-making industry, Hollywood! However, the room-hunting process in LA is a challenging one because of the highly competitive rental market. The U.S. Census Bureau data revealed in 2018 that more than 60 percent (64.1 to be exact) of the residents in LA live in rented homes. Regardless of your reasons for moving to LA, know that finding any type of housing, whether using a Los Angeles roommate finder or renting a room in Los Angeles, will need research, time, and effort. Therefore, to help you understand what steps you need to take to find a perfect rental space in the city, we’ve put together nine quick tips:

  1. Set your budget and your priorities

Anything that involves money needs a budget and renting a room is no exception. While LA is a massive city that offers various rental prices, it’s advisable to set a budget because a significant chunk of your income will go toward rent. 

When you prepare a budget, you know how much you have and how much you can spend. With your income in mind, crunch numbers to figure out the sums you can set aside for rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation. Using the 30 percent rule should help you decide the exact amount you can afford for rent. 

Finally, just like everyone else, we’re sure you too have an image of the ideal home in your mind. If you don’t, now’s a good time to sit down and make a list of things you need or can’t do without, things that you’d like to have, and those that you’re perfectly fine without.

  1. Choose neighborhoods and explore them

As mentioned earlier, besides time and effort, a little research is necessary to find some of the top neighborhoods in LA. Read up whatever information you can find online about the different areas in the city and the range of rental prices in each of them. This will help you determine which among these communities appeals to you the most.

Pick a few areas and make a list of your own. Then use it for reference and tour the city to check out these places in person. Be sure to explore these neighborhoods during the morning and evening hours to gauge your comfort level in each of them. 

In a word, while touring the neighborhoods, you might find “for rent” boards outside many homes, so you must certainly view them. You might not even have to search online rental listings to find an excellent room rental in LA!

  1. Select your ideal neighborhood

 To find the ideal rental room in Los Angeles, remember to consider some key factors when checking out neighborhoods. You’ll need to find a place with basic amenities such as restaurants, banks, post offices, dry cleaners, grocery stores, and the like within walking distance, preferably. That said, if you live too close to the street, noise levels will be a bother. Ask yourself if you feel safe while venturing out in the neighborhood because it’s a critical factor. If you own a car, you’ll need a place that has proper parking. 

In the end, the community you choose will also depend on the distance you need to commute to get to work. Since traffic in LA is painful and there’s no such thing as peak hours, you need to figure out how much time you can spare for the travel. So, finding a rental room in Los Angeles close to your workplace makes more sense than spending half your time traveling to and from work.

  1. Search for rental listings online  

As part of the room-hunting process, search the way most people search these days: using the internet. Check out potential rental listings online using the numerous websites and apps available. You’ll get to browse through several housing types before you find something you like.

Considering that almost all property management companies and individual landlords use online sources to post their properties, you may be spoilt for choice. Among the sites available in Los Angeles, one that stands out, in particular, is Cirtru, the most trustworthy and reliable rental room finder in the United States! All you have to do is follow three easy steps while including your lifestyle preferences concerning rent, pets, smoking, and so on, and you’re good to go!

Last but not least, some other apps or portals you could check out include, Apartment List, Apartments.com, TheRentalGirl.com, Zumper, Hotpads, Trulia, and Craigslist.

  1. Check out selected listings in person

Let’s say you’ve found a couple of rentals that you find suitable. Now what? Check them out physically. The listings you see online or on paper are likely to have all the amenities you could dream of, and the places may look fantastic too, thanks to some amazing photography. But are you sure that what you’ve seen in pictures is what you’ll eventually get? Guess not. It’s great if you’re willing to loosen your purse strings a little for a beautiful rental. Just make sure you’re getting the bang for your buck!

Apart from validating your selection of rentals, this visit allows you to do something equally important. Explore the neighborhood, look at the other rentals in the area, and check the availability of essentials in the community. In other words, walk around the area and get a feel of the place and whether it fits into your idea of the perfect place to live in.

  1. Stay away from scams

Digital age or not, you have scam artists everywhere, just waiting to dupe people. So, if you don’t wish to be a part of one, ensure that you remain watchful of anything that doesn’t look, sound, or feel authentic. Here are some scenarios you need to be aware of:

  • The rent asked for is much lower than market standards: You might come across a situation where a rental scammer might ask you to transfer some money before you’ve even stepped into the property. Walk away!
  • In certain situations, the landlord might message you to let you know that they’ll not be available for a showing because of travel or other commitments. Call the numbers shared to corroborate their identity. If something doesn’t seem right, let it go.
  • Should a landlord ask you to pay a fee before they let you view the property, they’re scammers. A rental application fee comes in much later, only after you’ve seen and liked the property and are willing to apply on the spot.

That said, many times, a simple conversation with a potential landlord can be enough to tell you that something’s not right. Follow your gut!

  1. Find a roommate

Living in a city like LA, where the cost of living is pretty high, it’s essential to find ways to save money. As always, the most effective way to do so is to find a roommate in Los Angeles.

Having someone to share your expenses with helps you save more money than you can imagine. Everything from rent to utilities to groceries goes down by 50 percent! Let’s assume your rent is $1700 monthly. Since it’s split in half, you pay only $850 and get to save the remaining half. What does that total in a year? Over $10,000, and that’s a whole lot of money!

To sum up, should you want to invest in a house in the future or anything equally meaningful, this money can be put to good use.

  1. Be ready to move in any time

As we may have mentioned earlier, LA has a very competitive rental market. As a result, it has a pretty low vacancy rate, so rentals with reasonable rents are swooped up in no time! Therefore, it’s wise to keep all your documents, from your pay stubs to your reference letters from previous landlords, handy. If you’re lucky enough to find a rental room in Los Angeles and have all your paperwork with you, you can apply on the spot and even get approved in a matter of minutes!

If your application goes through, the next step is to sign the lease and hand over the security deposit and the rent for the first month. So, instead of asking for more time, have the necessary funds ready so that you can pay them right away and move in on short notice. Remember, you’re not the only potential tenant. If someone else has everything in place, they’ll be preferred over you while you’re busy arranging documents and deposit money.

  1. Be aware of your tenant rights

Since more than half the residents in Los Angeles live in rented homes, the city has many laws dedicated to tenant rights. Some of them include the following:

  • Tenants have the right to a spotless and livable home.
  • Landlords need to provide 24 hours’ notice before they walk into a tenant’s home.
  • Landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit 21 days after they move out.

So, as a tenant in a new city, research and read up on all the landlord-tenant laws to be prepared in case you land in a prickly situation.

So, do you feel more comfortable about renting a room in Los Angeles? We sure hope so! But before you move to LA, we’d recommend that you take a short trip to find your way around the city. Go to random neighborhoods, pop by a coffee shop for a cup of coffee, grab a quick bite at an eatery, indulge in a little retail therapy, among other things. While you’re trying out these new experiences, observe those around you and soak in the sights and sounds. See if you fit in. In conclusion, when you decide to make the city your new home, LA, being an inclusive city, will welcome you with open arms!