A very desirable carboard box, only slightly damp...
November 10, 2005 7:35 PM   Subscribe

How can I find cheap housing in Long Beach for me, my two kids, and our dog?

I am looking for an apartment in downtown Long Beach, California.
I have tried Craigslist, as well as just driving around, but I am not finding anyone who wants to rent to me.
Mostly the dog is the deal-breaker -- she is a golden retriever (not a "small dog"). If they are OK with that, next it's the two kids that apparently seem to be more than people want to deal with.

I am completely at a loss.

I only make $32K. More than $1K a month I just cannot do. I am willing to live in a single, and live European-style (if we're awake, we're out on the town). Hell, I am willing to live in a damp hole in the dirt at this point.

What can I do?
Do I just need to perservere, or is it really this hard?
Any tips?
posted by Methylviolet to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Your conditions are a bit tricky, but don't confine yourself to Long Beach: Consider more affordable areas like San Pedro or Torrance, which have decent sections. If you're in the area, cruise around to familiarize yourself with neighborhoods and look for rental signs. Don't overlook small stores and cafes, which might have signs posted. Specific suggestions:
- Try the LA Times real estate section on-line. I see a few L.B. listings that fit your parameters.
- Check the listings in the Daily Breeze, the South Bay paper.
- Try West Side Rentals.com, a subscription service. (You have to pay to join before you get contact info.) I can't vouch for them, but they seem to have lots of listings.
- Walt's Roommate Service in Manhattan Beach, on MB Blvd and Rosecrans, 2nd floor. I found my first place in LA thru Walt, who had listings thruout the South Bay. (No longer in LA, so I don't know if he's still around.)
posted by rob511 at 9:39 PM on November 10, 2005

I used Westside Rentals in 2003 and found an apartment building in Long Beach that took dogs (at least small ones) and cost around $900. It would definitely a bit over $1000 now, though. There are less attractive areas of LB away from the beach that should fit your budget and requirement for dog-friendly, but they'd most likely be in a higher-crime area.
posted by shoos at 9:52 PM on November 10, 2005

Best answer: Having recently moved to the Los Angeles area from the east coast I have a bit of information to share that I have found interesting and actually use myself as someone that needed housing for two adults with two cats. I discovered a housing alternative that is working for families with children, people with pets, and others disenchanted with high priced real estate.

Have you checked out the marina? Quite accidentally I discovered that land is expensive but a patch of water isn't that much at all. I'm in a marina about a half hour north of you. A boat old enough that it probably wouldn't be a super vehicle for weekly trips to Catalina but can actually move if you're pressed to prove it could be a sailboat that sleeps 4 starting at $2000 (2K being less than you'd pay for first last and security anywhere anyway) on up to an old UniFlite for $30,000 (these prices are to buy not rent and theoretically you have something to sell/donate at the end, you could buy outright or finance through a credit union or the like). Slip fees plus liveaboard status including your utilities would run you less than $400 a month. You can even get landline phone service, dsl, and sat tv on board. Insurance can be less than $100 a year, you'll have to have a diver wash the bottom every month but you could live there a couple of years without ever doing a haulout or repaint of hull. You can also choose to use dock bathrooms and not need to pay a pump out fee for your tank!

The trick to it all is to find a boat you can deal with that already resides in a liveaboard slip and make the sale of the boat contingent on the transfer of slip and liveaboard status (you may wish to have a marine survey done and that kind of thing too so you're sure you won't come home and find your possessions have sunk). (Without liveaboard status you'd pay less than $200 a month but could only sleep on it 3 nights a week in some marinas "your marina may vary") It's just the easiest way to get the dockmaster's approval if you're asking to transfer the liveaboard status since the dock world runs at "dockmaster's discretion".

Most dock folk around here are pet friendly, mind their own business, and consider themselves "hearty" in an easy-going but capable kind of way. The gates where I am stay locked and we get mail at P.O. boxes so no one has any reason to be on my dock if they don't own a boat kept here, most of the residents have lived here forever (as in 5-30 years) and no one's been able to recall any crime at all.

Good Luck to you in your search. When I saw "damp hole in the ground" I figured I might as well share a non-traditional option that's possible in your geographical area.
posted by mztreskiki at 6:09 AM on November 11, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you all for your responses.

I have that old-school prejudice against paying for ANY online service, but if you two have had good luck with it, I should try Westside Rentals.
It's not THAT expensive, and heck, maybe it will work.

I was actually thinking about living aboard on the drive to the squat last night. That might work nicely. My dad is the ancient mariner, and would know all about any boat problem I could have.

I want to be downtown, because my kids are old enough to venture out unaccompanied, and I want them to have somewhere to venture to. And LB schools.

Shoreline Marina is smack in downtown LB -- wow. I think this might work.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:26 AM on November 11, 2005

Response by poster: Duh -- wrong best answer.
posted by Methylviolet at 11:28 AM on November 11, 2005

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