There are a variety of apartments available for rent in Santa Monica and surrounding neighborhoods. Free lists may be found in local newspapers, on the internet, or at the IECC.
Useful Tips to Keep in Mind When Selecting Your Accommodations:
What to expect
When renting an apartment, be prepared to fill out a background check, which usually requires bank account information, previous addresses, and personal and professional references. Often, landlords will also request a Social Security Number to check on your financial history. If you do not have a Social Security Number, please visit the IECC and you will be given a letter for your landlord stating that you are not eligible for a Social Security Card unless you work as Student Help at SMC. It is normal for a landlord to require first and last month's rent, and a damage deposit. Utilities (water, gas, electricity) may or may not be included in the rental amount. This information will be contained in your lease; this is a legally binding agreement, so make sure to read it carefully before signing.
Landlords are looking for responsible, financially secure tenants; they usually prefer to have local references. It is best to be prepared, so before looking for an apartment to rent or lease be sure to download a copy of your financial statement from your on-line application. As explained above, the International Education Counseling Center will also be happy to provide you with a verification letter that many landlords will accept in lieu of local references.
When you find the apartment of your choice, make sure you receive a lease agreement. All rental agreements or leases should be in writing. Read it thoroughly and make sure you understand it completely. If there is any language you do not understand, ask a reliable person to explain it to you. If your landlord does not give you a copy, it is important to request one; your lease is the only evidence of your legal tenancy and is designed to protect both parties' rights.
At a minimum, a lease or rental agreement should include the following:
- rental rate
- required damage deposit
- length of occupancy
- apartment rules
- termination requirements
Some questions you may want to ask include:
- what is the amount of rent
- what is included in the rent (i.e., gas, electric, water, parking, laundry, etc.)
- how many people may occupy the apartment
- when and how must rent be paid each month
- if roommates share the apartment, who is responsible if one should leave
- under what conditions is the damage deposit refundable
- what is the length of occupancy
- what is the landlord's right-of-entry
- what is the sub-let policy
- what is the guest policy
- what are the rules concerning pets, conduct, and use of recreational facilities
If corrections or repairs are needed before you move in, make the rental agreement contingent upon these corrections and agree upon a completion date. This agreement should be in writing, dated and signed by both parties.
It is always good to pay rent and other payments by check, not cash. Write the purpose on the face of the check (example: "April rent for Apt. #1, 123 Elm Street"). If you must pay in cash, get a signed and dated receipt from the landlord.
For information on leases, please visit: Leases
Leasing versus Month-to-Month Renting
Most apartments are rented under either a lease agreement or a month-to-month rental agreement. A lease agreement is usually for a one-year term. Remember that you will be responsible for the rent for the entire lease period, even if you wish to move out. Before you sign a lease agreement, make sure that you are completely satisfied with the accommodations, and that you like the landlord.
Some landlords allow month-to-month rental agreements. This type of arrangement allows you and the landlord to have more flexibility. The negative side of this arrangement is that the landlord may decide not to renew your rental agreement, and you will be forced to relocate at the end of one month.
For information on month to month rentals, please visit: Month to Month Rentals
Protect yourself from false accusations of damage by going through the apartment with the manager before you move in. Make a list of existing damages, paying attention to appliances, cracked plaster, draperies, carpets, lighting fixtures, etc. Ask the manager to sign this list and date it. Sign it yourself, and make copies for both to keep. Should you damage the premises, you are responsible for making repairs. You are expected to leave the premises in the same condition as when rented, reasonable wear-and-tear excepted.
If, for any reason, you need to leave before your lease expires, some landlords will allow you to sub-let to another tenant. You would most often do this if you want to travel during school breaks, but do not wish to lose the right to live in that apartment after returning. Sub-letting is only allowed with the landlord's permission, and some landlords do not permit it. Keep in mind, that even if you have permission to sub-let, you are responsible for the rent payment each month, whether or not you have collected it from the sub-tenant. Be very careful when you choose your sub-tenant and have him or her sign an agreement which states the amount of rent, the dates of occupancy, and a statement that all damages caused during your absence will be fixed. It is wise to get information about the sub-tenant's family, workplace, and any thing else that might be helpful in case you return to find that he or she has disappeared and left you with unexpected expenses.
Finding A Place
The following resources may be valuable in your apartment search:
433 Midvale Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310) 824-1737
Description: 433 Midvale offers student housing in Westwood, right next to UCLA and within an easy thirty to forty minutes by Big Blue Bus to SMC. The property includes fully furnished apartments that are leased individually per person and they will be happy to roommate match. Double or triple occupancies are available and the rent per person will vary accordingly.
Apartment & Homestay - Universal Student Housing (USH)
424 Kelton Avenue, #514
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310) 824-4908
Fax: (310) 824-2412
Description: Your family in the USA! Students share an apartment with one to five other students. USH offers airport pick-up, telephone and answering machines in each apartment, free incoming fax service, tour packages, and weekly grocery shopping trips. All rooms are fully furnished; the building offers controlled access, a pool, laundry facilities, and is located near a bus stop.
Home Away From Home
15th & Arizona
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tel: (310) 454-5048; (310) 359-3585
Long and Short Term Accommodations. Individual furnished one and two bedroom apartments with private kitchen, living room, bedroom & bath. North of Santa Monica Boulevard and 15th Street. Beach and SMC close. International students welcome!
Description: Students and faculty alike may find the perfect home in or around the Santa Monica area through this easy to use list of local properties.
Los Angeles Times
202 W. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 237-5000
Description: NMS Apartments is your premiere destination for both luxury Santa Monica apartments and affordable apartments in Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. NMS develops, owns and manages apartment buildings that add character and prestige to their neighborhoods. Each NMS apartment features the finest, modern finishes throughout and is located in some of the most desirable areas in Los Angeles including Santa Monica, Brentwood and the Wilshire Corridor. Each NMS property allows residents to take advantage of urban living at their doorstep, with popular shops and restaurants just a short walk away! In addition to luxury apartments, NMS is committed to developing affordable housing in the Los Angeles area, including the recently completed NMS@Lincoln and LuXe@Broadway affordable apartments. NMS Apartments offers exceptional service to residents with onsite property managers who are there to provide residents with an unparalleled apartment living experience. Explore the NMS website to find out why NMS Apartments are Modern LuXury Redefined.
Pico Lanai Apartments
2501 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tel: (888) 770-4214
Fax: (310) 828-2119
Description: Pico Lanai Apartments is 2 blocks away from SMC. We have newly renovated one bedroom apartments available with new stainless appliances, flooring, carpet, cabinets, ceiling fans, garbage disposal, microwave, dishwasher, stove and a refrigerator. Our community offers two beautiful swimming pools, fitness center, three laundry facilities, courtyard areas, On-Site bike racks, BBQ grills and parking. WE ACCEPT I-20 students.
Pacific Ocean Apartments
1920 6th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (855) 763-2521
Description: All freshly remodeled! Flooring: Dark Wood Tone Vinyl; BRAND NEW Wall to Wall Carpet (IN Bdrm ONLY); Stainless Steel Appliances (energy-saving fridge, stove/oven, microwave, & dishwasher); Luxury Granite Counter Tops - spacious counter fantastic for cooking and entertaining!; A/C wall unit; Large Balcony; 3 closets; Covered Parking Garage; Pool & Spa (Jacuzzi has bubbles!) - heated year-round; Spacious courtyard and pool area; Laundry On-Site; Fine details: Dimmer switches, track lighting in kitchen, large custom bathroom mirror, brand new light fixtures, mirrored sliding door closets, curved shower curtain rod; GREAT VALUE - RENT CONTROLLED - Santa Monica Rent Control is one of the strictest in the city - rental rates can only change 1x per year, and is dictated by the city. As an example last year they allowed an increase of only 1% - Online Rental Payment & Services; Dog and cat friendly; Walking Distance to Future Metro Light Rail; Walk/Bike/Environmentally friendly lifestyle
Six blocks from the beach! 4 blocks to Main Street! 2 blocks from the 10 freeway, 10 blocks from Santa Monica College and 4 miles from UCLA; Application criteria: Credit, proof of income (3x the rent per month OR 12x the rent in savings), and positive rental history/employment verification
Westwood Collection Luxury Apartments
527 Midvale Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310) 208-4868
Description: Welcome to the Westwood Collection!! Our properties are within an easy commute by bus to SMC, and walking distance of the UCLA campus and Westwood Village shopping and entertainment district. All units come with refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, garbage disposal, private patios or balconies and our 2 bedroom 2 bathroom spacious floor plan can accommodate up to 5 students. Our communities offer gated entry, gated parking structures, pool and jacuzzi, study lounge with free Wi-Fi access, security cameras, 24-hour fitness center, management and maintenance on site.
1020 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Tel: (310) 395-7368
Description: This comprehensive list of apartments for rent is available for a fee and is updated every day at 4:00 pm. It may be picked up, faxed, e-mailed, or you can browse the web site once you have paid the fee. The list is available for 60 days and the company has five locations with free internet use for any member.
Westwood Villa Apartments
2901 Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Tel: (424) 292-6306
Fax: (310) 479-6899
Description: One block from major supermarket and drugstore and over 45 exciting shops and restaurants! SAVE GAS! Across the street from Public Transportation including bus stops to many parts of the city including UCLA, SMCC, Loyola Marymount , Otis, South Western Law School, West LA College and Antioch. Westwood Villa Apartments, a West Los Angeles landmark, is located near the intersection of the San Diego and Santa Monica freeways. This convenient freeway access allows a short commute by bus or car to LAX, the Westside Regional Malls, Beverly Hills, Century City, Santa Monica, and the beaches.
Apartment management companies:
Miller & Desatnik
3623 Motor Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Tel: (310) 838-1828
Fax: (310) 841-2161
RST & Associates
11866 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. #101
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (310) 479-2565
Fax: (310) 478-5631
Web sites to visit for rental lists:
Things You Should Know After Your Move
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) provides water and electrical services for both Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. Water from faucets (indoors and out) has been purified and does not require boiling. Electricity for Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Culver City, and West Hollywood is handled by the DWP. Household current is 110 volts, AC 60 cycles. Foreign appliances without adapters will not work here. For more information, please call the DWP at 800-342-5397. For other cities and most parts of Santa Monica, Southern California Edison handles electricity. Please call them at 1-800-655-4555 for more information.
To establish gas service, contact the Southern California Gas Company at 800-427-2200. When the service representative comes to connect your gas, ask him or her to show you where the pilot lights for heater, stove, and water heater are located and how to turn them off in case of an emergency such as an earthquake.
Ask your landlord or building manager to show you how to use and clean your stove, oven, refrigerator, heater, air conditioner, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and other appliances which are included in your rent. Remember that gas stoves, if turned on but not lit, are dangerous because gas is poisonous and explosive. If you detect the smell of gas in your apartment and cannot determine why, call the gas company. They will send someone to check it for you. There is no fee for this service. Burners on electric stoves may be hot without appearing red in color. Electric burners will stay hot for some time after the control has been turned off.
To keep your refrigerator working properly, you may have to defrost the freezer compartment. Some refrigerators defrost automatically, others must be turned off for several hours until the ice melts naturally. Do not allow frozen foods to thaw while defrosting your refrigerator unless you plan to use them right away. It is a good idea to store them in a neighbor's freezer. If your frozen food thaws, do not refreeze it. This can be very dangerous to your health.
The landlord has a right to enter the premises at reasonable times to inspect the unit and make repairs. Your landlord should not enter your apartment without calling to ask permission or notifying you that there are repairs to be done. California law requires the landlord to obtain a court judgment before entering an apartment when the tenant has broken the lease and the landlord has a lien on the tenant's personal property.
Eviction: Regardless of whether or not you have a lease agreement, your landlord has the right to ask you to vacate the premises, with proper notice (usually 30 days). Keep in mind that without a lease, you have no extended right to remain in an apartment. Even with a lease agreement, you may still be evicted from your apartment if you engage in illegal activities or violate the rental agreement.
Turning Off Utilities
California law forbids a landlord who intends to evict a tenant to turn off water, electricity, or gas. When you vacate the premises, you must call each utility company and order the service disconnected. If you do not, you will be responsible for gas, electric, and telephone usage after you leave. You must give a forwarding address for final bills or go in person to close these accounts.
Giving Notice to Leave
To end your tenancy, write a dated letter to your landlord 30 days in advance of the date you plan to leave. Be sure to include your name, address, apartment number, and telephone number, as well as the date you wish to vacate the premises. Deliver the letter to the landlord in person and ask him or her to sign and date a copy for your records. At the time you vacate, do not leave anything behind and surrender your keys. If you leave any belongings behind or if you keep the keys in your possession, you have not legally vacated the premises and your landlord will be entitled to keep your damage deposit for every day that you do not comply with the terms of vacancy.