7 Insider Tips to Renting an Apartment in Los Angeles

Finding an apartment to rent in Los Angeles isn’t the easiest thing in the world. The competition for apartments is very high, but that doesn’t mean you cannot find a place that suits you — if you do things correctly.

We’ve put together this ultimate apartment hunting checklist to help you find your first-choice rental in Los Angeles.

Budget wisely

Monthly rent is perhaps the most critical aspect when going on any apartment hunt. Think of how much rent is affordable to you, and then choose apartments in that price range based on location and size. Ideally, you should spend no more than 30% of your income on rent.

Remember to also include all your monthly expenses and factor in unexpected costs when putting together an apartment budget. Living with a roommate can help you split the bills and stay within budget.

Search for an apartment

In most cases, you won’t even need a realtor to land a house in LA. There are many ways to find spaces on your own, with online listings being probably the most convenient. Another excellent way is to walk around the neighborhoods, given that many landlords prefer renting their houses to locals. This way, you’re more likely to find suitable apartments that aren’t listed on the web. There are also plenty of good apartments in Los Angeles where you can stay in the short-term as you search for your dream home.

Prepare your paperwork

Apart from budgeting for your first apartment, you also need to gather all paperwork that a property manager will require during the application process. Some of the typical documents landlords and managers ask for include your identity documents and proof of employment and financial stability.

Have all your recent pay stubs (or W-2 form), bank statements, letter of recommendation from previous landlords, your photo ID, vehicle registration number, checkbook, social security history, references, resume, cover letter, and credit report. Also, keep the phone numbers of your former landlords and employer, should they be needed.

Keep in mind that the market is tight, implying that landlords give houses to those who apply first. As a result, having these things in advance can increase your chances of landing your dream apartment. You don’t want to lose your dream apartment just because you forgot to carry your proof of income.


Where you live is vital because you want to be close to work and the essential services you use often. You don’t want to walk too far to get groceries, grab food at a restaurant or get a haircut.

You also want to factor in the distance between your place of work from any potential apartment. A long commute can easily ruin your day in LA, and if you have a car, how long your rides will be will make or break your daily life here.

Know whether pets are allowed

If you have a pet, you want a pet-friendly apartment that can accommodate your furry friend. Many landlords in LA don’t allow them, and those that do tend to place restrictions based on aspects like the breed and size. Most pet-friendly buildings include a pet deposit, so it’s good to know how much that is for budgeting.

Know your expectations

When hunting for an apartment, it’s important to think about the features you want your apartment to have for a comfy lifestyle. Making a list of your must-haves in an apartment can help you find the perfect apartment. This includes amenities such as storage options, availability of laundry services, a fitness center, or any other features you can’t do without. Fortunately, there are many apartments in LA with premium amenities to make living easier, convenient, and fun.

See the place in person

Online apartment tours have made it simple for renters to view potential homes from afar, but it has also increased the chances of getting scammed. Once you get to see a place you like, you should call or email the owner or manager to set up a time to view it. This can help you see the real condition of the house and whether the amenities included in the online listing are actually there. During the visit, you should ask questions based on what is important to you, such as how amenities are kept on a daily basis, trash collections, the community vibe, etc.

It’s a good time to move to Los Angeles!

As with most top cities in the US, apartment hunting in Los Angeles is never easy – but you’ve got this. Use the simple tips we’ve explained in this post to hasten the process and book a home you can be proud of. A couple of key takeaways is to go for what you can afford and be ready with all the needed documents.

Good luck!


By Nico Braille 

Images by Sterling Davis and Jeremy Bishop

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