Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apt For Rent In Los Angeles

July 31, 2012

Helen asks…

My first apartment but I have leasing questions. Please help!?

Hello, I’m about to move into my 1st apt. I’m living in Los Angeles and the rent here is expensive! 1br is about $1000 and a 2br is about $1500. Because I believe can afford either option, it seems a 2br is the better way to go. I work as an independent contractor, so I plan on turning the 2nd br into a home office / guest bdrm. Being my 1st apt, I know that my estimate on bills may be off and I might just have to get a roommate for the 2nd br.

Question #1: Do I need to add that roommate onto the lease? In my mind, I prefer not to because I know the landlord could increase the rent or extend the lease terms. Plus, I know I dont get along with certain types of people and I want the option of getting rid of them on my own terms. Any suggestions on this?

Question #2: On a month2month agreement between me and my roommate, can I give them 30 days notice and get rid of them or would I need to go through the courts to evict them?
Also, I understand that I am legally obligated to pay the landlord in full and responsible for any damages that my roommate would cause if that person was not on the lease. I am willing to take full responsibilities for my roommate. I am more interested in the flexibilities that this type of arrangement would bring for me. I just need to know if it is common practice or even a possible option. I also need more information on evictions… when can they be used? why are they used?
Hmmm… If it’s true that I can get evicted for having a roommate not on the lease… In a scenario where I have a roommate anyways, give them 30 days notice, they refuse and force me to go through the courts to evict them… what are the chances of the landlord finding out about my eviction notices for my roommate and evicting me for having that roommate in the first place? Are these things very public? Confused yet? =P

Administrator answers:

Q#1 – Legally yes you do need to add your roommate to your lease. They are living in the apartment and the landlord has the legal right to know. — After saying that most do not add their roommates to the lease, especailly if they move a few months into the lease. I know my sister will be living with me for the summer and paying me rrent but I have no intention of adding her to my lease.

Q#2 30 days notice should suffice espcially if they are not listed on the lease. They have no legal claim over you

Lizzie asks…

about rental agreement for apt.?

L.A. ,Ca. renter old agreement rent was not late until 5 days after rent was due one late fee. under new agreement I’m being asked to sign. I will be late 1st day after rent is due. a$25 fee for each day up to three days. After which on 4th day all rent and late fees are due.Or eviction notice will be issued. My question is ,is this legal in the city of Los Angeles,Ca

Administrator answers:

I think that if you pay your rent on time, there’s no worry about whether it’s legal or fair. Pretend that rent is due on the 28th of each month and you won’t incur late charges.

Robert asks…

Keep renting apt ($1,000/month) vs. Buy condo ($400/month)?

If I stay in my apartment and pay monthly rent of $1,000, I could keep my down pay of $100,000 in the bank.


I could buy a condo for $100,000 and no money left over in my bank but still have to pay $400/month due to property tax plus HOA.

What should I do? Which is better?

I cannot get any loan since I only held this new job for about 8 months and all banks require me to have at least 2 years in the same job. $100,000 down in my bank is cash I saved up while working for past 10 years in previous jobs.
I make about $1,500/ month in my new job and am single 36 year old man.

I’m in Los Angeles county.
No, I’m saying $200 for HOA plus yearly tax equaling $400/month and NOT $400 just for HOA.
It’s only 2 miles away from where I live but where I live right now is slightly better area than where this condo is located.
oh, actually it’s not a down payment but full cash purchase. So $100,000 full cash purchase of a $100,000 condo.

Administrator answers:

I would go with the condo. You aren’t getting anything for your money renting.

Thomas asks…

I have bad credit and sublease an apartment. I want to lease my own apt. Will I be denied?

I sublease at an apartment complex. I know they do credit checks but they gave the renter permission to sublease it to me because she went off to school. I am renting a room and another girl is renting the other room. I don’t feel like it’s clicking with the roommate who rents out the other room and I’m thinking in the fall I want to move out with my boyfriend into a new apartment. The apartment complex I’m at would be perfect for us. The location is great in Los Angeles, CA and I don’t want to leave this general area. But my boyfriend and I both have bad credit. We are both working on payment plans with our creditors and unfortunately, that’s gonna take some time. If I’m already renting a place and pay rent on time, will they most likely still deny me from renting out my own place if I just wanna get my own place? I’ve always looked for roommates because of my credit. Is Los Angeles very hard to find a place with bad credit? We are paying off our debts. We both have medical bills and we both have everything under control with our creditors. But it could take years till either of our credit is restored. Will my apartment most likely deny us? And if so, will it be pretty difficult to find a place?
We’re both much older and don’t either have parents to co-sign.

Administrator answers:

It really depends on the management. Generally, it’s tough to find a nice apartment to rent in LA if you have bad credit. But if you know the management, and they see you’ve been paying on your sublet, they might lease to you. The fact that they’ve allowed you to sublet either means they totally trust that a college student (the original tenant) has the cash to pay and will easily pay if you and your roommate don’t pay (unlikely they’d trust that much), or they believe that you and your roommate are likely to pay. Many landlords would not allow a sublet like yours, so it’s seems that they be more lax than many, or they believe you’ll pay.

Do you have a several year history of paying rent on time anywhere, even if you were not on the lease? How long have you had your job? How about your boyfriend? Is the rent amount a reasonable percentage of your and your bf’s income? Is there a chance the other roommate would move out, is she on the original lease? I would chat up the management, be friendly, be sure you follow all the rules, and when it comes to close to the time you’d like to see about renting your own unit, speak to them before they run your credit. Tell them the truth about your situation, and how you’re paying off your debts, etc. Run your credit with all 3 agencies beforehand so you know what it looks like, and in case it’s not as bad as you think. If you haven’t run your credit recently, do so, in case there are things that aren’t correct, it takes time to fix them.

Also, if they seem iffy about renting to you, and they usually take a one month rent security deposit, see if you can give them a larger security deposit, if you have the extra cash, of course. Usually, in LA, up to 2 months rent as a security deposit for an unfurnished unit is allowed by law, 3 months for a furnished unit.

Annual Credit Report, the legit one backed by the government, one free report from each agency yearly:

Good luck!

Sandra asks…

How to find a nice room in a House/Apt with roommates?

I’m looking to rent a room in an apartment a condo or a house with nice roommates. I’ve tried Craigslist for a while, there are not too many options there. Are there any other ways to find something like I mentioned? Any free websites other than Craigslist? I can drive around too but they usually don’t post roommates needed. They say 1 Bedroom or 2 Bedrooms. I live in Los Angeles area by the way. I would really appreciate if someone tells me about the resources to make it easy for me to find a nice place. I just need a logical answer to my question not random responses and I don’t need to find THE PLACE on this website!!! Thank you

Administrator answers:

Have you tried looking on bulletin boards at the local colleges?? Classified section of the newspaper (either on print or online?), (ebay’s classified website)? That’s all I can think of. Good luck!

Lisa asks…

Where can I file a complain about my landlord?

I lived in Westside Terrace Apartments in 3836 South Sepulveda Blvd , Los Angeles, CA 90034. I recently moved out of my 2 bed 2 bathroom apt and got charged a high amount of my security deposit. They charged me more than $700. I painted one bedroom in a different color. The size of the room was around 3×3 meters. All the other rooms were unpainted and in the original condition. In addition they charged me an additional double rent fee of more than 100$. I just want to know whether you think that is justified. I for myself think its just discriminating. They told me when I asked about painting one room that one bedroom would be around $160 to $200. However, I feel like they think that cause I am an international student and had to pay a 2 month deposit they can do that with me.
The color was a “light grey”. So it was not bright or anything. They always paint the apartments in a creme color so I think it should not be hard to cover.

I was asking them by email already. They haven’t replied me.

Administrator answers:

What color did you paint the bedroom? Some colors (like yellow or red) are very difficult to cover & almost always require more than one coat of paint. Therefore you have doubled the amount of materials and labor.

What was the “double rent fee” for? They can deduct to repair any damage done to the unit.

Your deposit refund letter should advise you how to dispute the fees. If not, read your state statutes to find out what you need to do. You probably have to take the landlord to small claims court and sue to get more money.

Mark asks…

Kitchen appliances- who owns them?

I have lived in a rent stabilized
apartment in Los Angeles
since 1996.
My lease stipulated that
I would be leasing apt “as is”
and under “Owner’s Personal
Property”, it said “NONE”.
The kitchen had a
stove, refrigerator and
When dishwasher broke down landlord installed a
new one at his expense and has always paid for repairs to it.

Landlord died and his son is now selling the building and wants me to sign an estoppel certificate.
I asked him to clarify ownership of
dishwasher, and he claims that it
must have been a “gift” from his
father and that all repairs were
done as a “favor”. He says it’s
I’m puzzled by this sudden “gift”.
I’m worried that if I sign the
estoppel certificate, I will be
now be responsible for all repairs
for dishwasher.
Is it reasonable and/or legal for me
to add some words on the
escoppel certificate that the
dishwasher belongs to the owner?
Many thanks in advance!
Thanks for your responses but I’m still a bit confused. There is a discrepency between what my lease says and what the landlord is now telling me. Lease says: Owner’s Personal Property: NONE (indicating that all the appliances are mine, not his).
But he bought and installed the dishwasher. The lease was never amended to show that the dishwasher now belongs to “Owner”.
If I sign the estoppel certificate as is, it means (to new prospective landlord/owner) that I agree with the info in my lease. And I do not. I do not want to be responsible for any repairs on an appliance I didn’t buy. Can I write on the estoppel certificate that dishwasher is the owner’s property?
Thanks again!

Administrator answers:

The estoppel certificate is a document used to clarify things for the prospective buyer. I look at it as you have two options here.

You could sign the certificate agreeing that you own the dishwasher. Should it ever break, you would be responsible for the repair. If you ever move, you could take it with you. It sounds like this is not what you want.

Second, you could choose not to sign the certificate. In this case the dishwasher belongs to the current landlord and, upon sale, would move to the new landlord. In this scenario, if the dishwasher breaks, it’s up to the landlord to fix it. This is where it could come back to hunt you.

From the wording you have provided on your lease I doubt that it provides for the rental of a dishwasher. Since the lease does not require it to be part of the rental, the landlord may not have to fix it. Heck, if you are stating that it is the landlords personal property there could be a chance he could remove it. It’s his and not covered under the rental agreement.

I’d say you are better off accepting the gift. If you don’t want the gift, return it and tell him to pull the dishwasher out of the unit.

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