How does one find a place to live for several months (in LA)?
July 23, 2014 1:19 PM   Subscribe

My wife, two kids, and a dog need a domicile in the fall/winter where we can live while our house is being worked on. The challenge is finding a place that would allow that short of a term, with a somewhat vague end date, all under a budget. Where to look?

Airbnb seems to have very limited options, mostly priced as vacation homes (too expensive). Craigslist has plenty of listings but I can't filter for month-to-month. Aside from Westside Rentals (a frustrating website to use) I don't know how to look. Anyone have any other ideas?
posted by malhouse to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It sounds like what you want is a corporate apartment. Oakwood is sort of the go-to place for this, although a lot of apartment complexes will have furnished apartments for rent.

Other options are Marriott Residence Inns.

As for Craigslist, you can just call people and ask if they'd be willing to do a month-to-month. Some will, some won't. Expect to pay a premium if they will. It's more work, but who knows, it may pay off.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:34 PM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

also, AirBNB isn't bad for this (i did it on a 9 week stint to Los Angeles) - you can rent either a room or a house. A number of people may rent out the entire place and not just a room in their house.
posted by waylaid at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

In Cali you're going to have trouble with vacation-type rentals because you want to go over the 30-day mark, and that means that you'll automatically have the same rights as any tenant. (Here's a thing in the news lately about it.) So lots of landlords will shy away from that. Google "corporate housing" "corporate apartments" and "extended stay" in Los Angeles for places.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

This might be more of a long shot, but consider posting as "housing wanted" on Craiglist and doing some flyers around your neighborhood or city, and especially any university area. You might encounter someone who is looking for a housesitting type arrangement or has some kind of special case where you would fit what they need. I have friends who had a small rental apartment but were almost never there; rather, they spent months at a time going between a couple of housesitting gigs. If you can find someone who is going on sabbatical or taking a long vacation, they might be interested in getting a stable, dependable family in for a few months to take care of pets/plants/etc.
posted by handful of rain at 2:38 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

My wife and I were in this exact situation when we renovated our house 3 years ago. We needed a month-to month option, because with any construction, once they start, there are a million things that the contractor could find / or go wrong.

Our ultimate solution was to find an apartment near a hospital complex. Often, especially at teaching hospitals, adjacent apartment complexes will have a rental option that lets you renew around the third week of the current month. This is mainly due to traveling nurses and research doctors that often don't know how long they will be staying. We rented a two-bedroom apartment, and were able to stay for four months (as opposed to the original two months.)

It ended up working out great.
posted by Benway at 3:00 PM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

So I've never been in your exact situation, but because I frequently travel for a month or two at a time for research, I have been in an analogous situation several times. It is definitely difficult to find reasonably-priced medium-term housing, especially with a flexible end date. I have had luck through the following:
1. AirBnB: This is geared towards short-term stays (one night through, say, a week), and tends to be inordinately expensive for longer stays. However you can hit the occasional reasonably-priced medium-length stay here. I would put in the dates for the first month or five weeks that you know you'll need to rent for, filter by price (sometimes people there have monthly prices that are significantly lower than their daily price), and maybe send some messages. Since you're presumably looking for a whole house, I think you will have less luck with this method than others, but it's worth a shot.
2. Craigslist - Putting up your own ad: Craigslist is really hit or miss in general, and since it's not regulated and there are no reviews, it's like the wild west of accommodation-finding. That said, I have had extremely good luck on one occasion by putting up an ad explaining who I am and what I was looking for (accommodation for 2-3 months, starting at a particular time). I got a few responses that were really great matches, and picked one that I think is going to be a perfect fit. Sometimes you can housesit/petsit for someone and get a particularly good rate.
3. Craigslist - Looking at others' ads: If you look on the ads that others have posted, you can occasionally find sublets that coincide with the months that you need as well. I have had this happen once and work excellently - I got a month-long sublet for a bargain price (I had to pay the same amount that the other person paid in rent, since I was effectively replacing him for a month, but I didn't have to pay a premium). If you go this route, you will probably not be able to have a flexible end date, because the person will already have plans to return to their house at a given time and wants to fill it only within that date span. You might also find a whole house for month-to-month lease, although I would suspect that that might be less common (although it is common enough for single rooms).
4. Since it sounds like the time that you need might roughly correspond with a semester, you might want to look for the houses of professors on sabbatical (or possibly a student couple with an apartment who are traveling for the semester, or doing fieldwork abroad, etc.). I'm pretty sure there are at least 1 or 2 sites geared towards renting others' sabbatical homes, so I'd Google it.
posted by ClaireBear at 3:18 PM on July 23, 2014

My parents rented a house when they remodeled, so did my aunt and uncle when they built a new house on their lot.

AKA also has serviced apartments.
posted by brujita at 3:29 PM on July 23, 2014

I think my parents found theirs through a traditional realtor.
posted by brujita at 3:31 PM on July 23, 2014

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