Subleting in SoCal for the Summer
April 29, 2008 11:09 AM   Subscribe

3 month internship in Santa Monica? OK. Now, where to live?

This summer I'll be working for an environmental NGO in Santa Monica, CA. The internship is for about 3 months between mid-June and late August or September. So now that I've got the job, my problem is finding an apartment.

I know very little about LA and Santa Monica. I'm looking for recommendations on a) good places to live and b) an easy way to apartment hunt online.

Ideally, I'd like to sublet in Santa Monica but have no idea if this is really feasible. My main priority is living as close to work as possible, since I dislike driving. I own a bike and can handle a commute as long as the hills aren't too brutal. I don't need much space at all--a studio is just fine. The only major stipulation is that I can't get caught in a lease that is longer than three months. My price range is definitely on the cheap side: if I can keep rent under $1200 that would be great.

So, suggestions?
posted by dead_ to Travel & Transportation around Santa Monica, CA (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Craigslist LA or Westside Rentals.

Santa Monica is fairly flat, so biking shouldn't be much of a problem, although rent prices are higher because it's closer to the ocean.

Where in Santa Monica is the NGO? It's fairly big.
posted by sharkfu at 11:17 AM on April 29, 2008

If your priority is living as close to your job as possible the advice will be heavily dependent on where in Santa Monica your job is. Ballpark area?
posted by Justinian at 11:32 AM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: worst case, you can probably find some month-to-month corporate housing, but it won't be that cheap. I believe UCLA has a housing office with a posting board, a lot of students will probably be subletting their places for the summer. Most of them live in Westwood, but I'm sure some live in SM.

Other than that, I find every apt. available in L.A. ends up on craigslist. It's free to post, so why would the renter NOT post it there, even if they post it on pay sites too?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:36 AM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: You could try westside rentals.

If you want to sublet, try looking around UCLA. Many students lease apartments for a year and sublet for the summer. It's bikeable, but you'd have to be very careful with all the traffic. Try here.
posted by albolin at 11:53 AM on April 29, 2008

Response by poster: Ah, yes, location would be good info, eh?

2515 Wilshire Blvd is the spot.
posted by dead_ at 12:33 PM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: I'm sitting in an office about 4 blocks away from where you will be working :) Definitely craigslist, and definitely look into student sublets. You will want to keep your commute to a minimum because traffic here is awful. Santa Monica is a great place to live, and relatively bike-friendly (for LA anyway, which isn't very). You should be able to find a studio apt around 4th street area that is within your budget, and it will be a walk to the ocean, shops, cafes etc. That will be right at the top of your budget tho, from what I understand. Aside from that, look in West Los Angeles (areas vary in desireability, and can be very close to your office or quite far, west LA is a weird shape), or Westwood.

Corporate apts are hilariously expensive, don't even bother calling. I tried to get one for 4 months last year when I had to move out for a house remodel, and IIRC it was something like $4000 a month for a one-bed. Haha.
posted by Joh at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2008

Westside Rentals is pretty damn near useless in the age of Craigslist—all of their listings are elsewhere, for free.
posted by klangklangston at 2:44 PM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: I adore the neighborhood you're going to be working in (I live about a block away) - and so does everyone else I know that's lived here. All three people that have moved out of my apartment got one nearby. The plus side for you is that it's not a very expensive part of Santa Monica.

I highly recommend biting the bullet and paying for Westside rentals. Every one I know that tries to troll craigslist for anything on the west side has tried that for a while with no luck, then given in to WSR and found something almost immediately.

I'm not sure how that applies to your short-term situations, but if craigslist is coming up dry give it a shot.

I kind of wish I wasn't so excited about my second bedroom being empty soon, because otherwise the timing and location for you would be great. Sadly... I am really excited about having the place to myself.
posted by flaterik at 3:24 PM on April 29, 2008

Best answer: craigslist, don't pay for westside rental, it's useless.
consider a roomie-situation or you will have to set up utilities and deal with landlords who won't rent to anyone not going to stay longer. 1200 is going to work for a decent bedroom in a quite nice place.

now this is LA - forget about the not driving thing. you will need a car to get basically anywhere, even in santa monica.

check out the neighborhood project on to get a basic idea of where things are. google earth is great, too.

areas I'd consider would be up and down the PCH but not too far inland. avoid having to take the 10 and 405 freeways, which are mayhem at all hours and don't move as far as west hollywood or silverlake or those places. mac arthur park and la brea are way too far inland already, the traffic will kill you on your way to work. the PCH from santa monica going south is doable, so you could consider marina del rey, redondo beach and el segundo, both close to LAX, all the way down to manhattan beach. closer even is venice, which tends to be a bit cheaper than santa monica as well. santa monica proper is in your budget, as may be some parts up the PCH towards malibu and even zuma beach but it's a crowded commute and a bit out of the way if you want to go anywhere at night. very nice area though and with lots of students going to pepperdine, you're bound to find a couple nice shares. you could consider brentwood and the pacific palisades but again traffic inlands is awful, so try avoiding that.

when I was back in college, I used to rent a room in a nice apartment in venice for $800/month. this was on dimmick ave, which was quite close to the beach. a place twice the size in marina del rey (delgany ave. - right next to LAX) ran me just as much and had a pool. you see you're well in range here with 1200. driving from my last place up to santa monica would take me around 20-30 minutes.

so, to recap: think somewhat close to the beach, don't worry about driving the PCH from areas a bit south of santa monica as traffic isn't *that* bad there, consider everything down to manhattan beach. have fun!
posted by krautland at 3:30 PM on April 29, 2008

I am surprised yet happy to hear that craigslist is finally tearing down the WSR monopoly. I've had to use it for everywhere (outside of lofts/warehouse downtown), and I hated having to give those bastards money. Previously any time I found a listing elsewhere I couldn't get the contact info without going to WSR. Hurray craigslist! I will be quite happy to have my understanding that you have to shell out their extortion be outdated.
posted by flaterik at 1:17 PM on May 2, 2008

If you're gonna troll Craigslist, look for used WestsideRentals accounts too. Folks that find what they're looking for the first week often sell the rest of the time on the account.
posted by carsonb at 8:42 PM on May 3, 2008

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