Los Angeles apartments are an eclectic mix of high-end rentals and run-down flophouses. First-time visitors arriving in the City of Angels face a city made up of huge economic disparities. Make renting in Los Angeles easy on yourself with a bit of insider info.
Forget the Thomas Guide, Check the LAPD Crime Map Instead!
After driving below graffiti-covered overpasses, the newbie to L.A. is sometimes treated to a sight of the bleaker Los Angeles apartments. Within spitting distance from the highway, they feature a grey-on-grey appearance. Even the occasional patch of grass that is holding on for dear life – in spite of severe watering restrictions – cannot dress up the rental.
A few short blocks later, there are Art Deco-style apartment buildings complete with doormen. Still further down the street are gorgeous single family homes. After a couple of turns, the graffiti reappears. Is this the end of the safe neighborhood?
Not necessarily; rather than relying on various property maps that show available Los Angeles Apartments, the newbie to the city will do well to dial up the LAPD crime map. It shows concentrations of crime-ridden districts and warns away the new Angeleno from renting in an area that might have a (well-deserved) ill repute.
As a general rule of thumb, renters with good credit move to the northern and western portions of the city. Those willing to ride out gentrification and with a less than stellar credit history might look to the eastern and central part. South Los Angeles is a crapshoot and not generally considered a top safe neighborhood.
Renting in Los Angeles Takes Legwork
Finding Los Angeles apartments in a target neighborhood can be as simple as driving down the street and writing down numbers. Do not put too much stock into the rental sections of the papers; “quaint” inevitably refers to a room the size of a postage stamp while “view of the city” may be synonymous with opening the window to reveal several parking lots. Craigslist offers a good rental section for the newbie who wants to get a head start.
Drive through the neighborhood in the early evening. It reveals who is walking around, whether a potential renter would feel safe and also showcases the general makeup of residents. If the locale feels right, jot down the numbers of advertised rentals and give them a call. Privately managed Los Angeles apartments may be open for viewing right then and there. If the mix does not feel right – a dog owner should stay away from an area where there is nobody walking a canine since pet restrictions are likely enforced – keep driving to another area.
Landlords Have a Right to Ask and Charge (but only so much)
Renting in Los Angeles introduces the tenant to rent control. It also involves the completion of a rental application. Managers of Los Angeles apartments want to ensure that their tenants have a means of paying the rent today, next month and down the line.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs explains that landlords have the right to ask for detailed information pertaining to current and past employers, landlords and references. They may also ask for a social security and driver’s license number as well as pull a credit report. Some even ask for bank and credit account numbers to get a credit reference. To defray the cost of running a background check on potential tenants, Los Angeles landlords may charge up to $42.06 from an applicant.
Since there is quite a bit of flux in tenancies, renting in Los Angeles can be an exciting adventure.