Rent in Los Angeles is on the rise. Once you decide to move, you’ll probably also want to know how to find roommates in Los Angeles.
One of the things you don’t want to do right after moving to LA is to be spending money left and right.
Here’s something you already knew: Los Angeles is very expensive (and that’s not just rent).
There are several ways to live on a budget in here. Having a roommate in LA can save you tons of that cash which you can put to advance your acting career.
It’s also not only cheaper but much easier to rent a room instead of an entire place. Landlords are wary of new transplants in LA, so coming into an agreement with them when attempting to rent a 1 bedroom by yourself can be tough. Unless you’re rich.
Fortunately, many people move to LA to look for film acting auditions, theater work, voice acting jobs, and other industry gigs. It’s always easier to seek those people out if you’re in a similar position.
Finding roommates in Los Angeles to live with is a clever decision when the budget is tight, but there are right and wrong ways to go about this.
Even though I did plenty of research beforehand, when I first moved to LA, I had to spend many days finding a place with a roommate in LA where I don’t risk of being robbed or hurt.
Here are my thoughts on how to find roommates in Los Angeles fast and do it the safe way.
How to Find Roommates in Los Angeles
Most people will admit that the last time they lived with a roommate, it went one of two ways. It was either fantastic, or fantastically terrible.
Many people, thanks to their previous experiences with roommates of all kind, try to avoid living with a total stranger in a new city. It’s a very rational thought process, especially when you’re living with rent prices ranging around $500 for a 1 bedroom apartment.
But when you’re a resident of Los Angeles, a roommate is exactly what you need in order to afford rent in the apartment of your dreams — or, any livable apartment, for that matter.
I don’t mean to scare you, but two things come into play here:
- Apartment prices in LA range from $1100 to $2000 for 1BR
- There are a lot of crazy people here in Tinseltown
Aspiring actors who are on a tight budget have an opportunity to save some money.
1. Why live with a roommate in LA?
Living with a roommate, or even multiple roommates in Los Angeles at once, might be a slightly scary and difficult prospect. It was a little for me at first.
However, finding a roommate in LA is quite easy. I guarantee, there’s a lot of people in the same position as you.
I’m living with a roommate currently. When we first me, he showed me the city and explained the many crazy things about the LaLaLand. We split our rent, share groceries, and spend some days together since there’s always many things to do in Los Angeles.
There’s “fakeness” in LA, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t nice.
Finding actual friends in this city can be tough, and that’s another good reason to get a roommate. You can easily find a person who has a similar mindset. If you get lucky to find another actor, like I did, this can turn into many evenings full of wine-induced, passionate conversations about the craft and the industry.
When you’re young, having a roommate can definitely be fun.
If you’re moving to LA with zero knowledge about the city, a roommate can help you get your new Hollywood life started without spending significant amounts of cash.
That’s for the reasons as to why live with roommates in Los Angeles. Now, once you decide that you’re definitely splitting your rent with someone, you’ll also have to think which way you’re going:
- Renting a room from someone else, or
- Signing a lease yourself and finding a roommate afterwards.
I went with option number one, and I recommend you do the same if you’re new to LA.
2. When to start looking for roommates in Los Angeles?
First, you’ll want to get started early.
This is becoming a trend of my Acting Plan blog, isn’t?
Like with everything else, I believe in smart preparation and thorough research.
a) Just moved to LA and trying to find a roommate
b) Got a new place and need a person for an empty room
c) Your current roommate moved out and you need a replacement
Regardless of the reason, you need to start your search before you grow desperate.
Even though there’s plenty of people in Los Angeles that are ready to jump at an opportunity to share a place, you need to weed out the weirdos. I can tell you that LA is full of them.
The reason you want to start early is because this process takes time. Surprisingly, it’s not always easy to find a quality fit that won’t leave you with regrets.
For an option (a), ideally, you should begin reaching out and searching for roommates in Los Angeles at least a month before coming out here.
With plenty of time on your hands, you’ll be able to take your time and sift through multiple websites, different apps, and your various connections to find a proper fit.
3. How important is networking to find a roommate in LA?
Like jobs, acting casting calls, and other avenues, the most important aspect of living in Los Angeles is networking.
Want an acting job? Hope to find a great roommate? Want a Los Angeles sublet? Looking to move into a different apartment?
Knowing people will help to sort out all of those. I talk more about this in my LA acting auditions article.
You can do or accept cold calls (which is what most do), but the best results always come from having a network of people you already know and trust. You will understand this better once you spend time with more Angelenos who adopted this mentality across the board.
So don’t hesitate – get in touch with everyone you know in the LA area. Enlist your friends’ help in finding a good roommate you can later bitch about to those same friends.
Chances are, they know a person or two who’s looking for a roommate as well, and you can use their network to your advantage without hopping online.
Goes without saying: to eliminate all the worries about the “proper fit,” take the time to get to know one another before hopping into a one-year lease with this total stranger.
This is what I did with my very first two roommates in Los Angeles.
For my first apartment, we had coffee together after I viewed the place. I didn’t really connect with the person and had to pass on the opportunity. It didn’t feel like the right fit.
For my next apartment, we had lunch together after I looked at the apartment to see if we can get along. We still live together and became great friends.
My advice is to be patient. In order to afford patience, you need to start early.
4. Where to find future roommates?
Of course, if you don’t have a network in Los Angeles, the Internet is your next best bet.
Apps and sites
Simply fill out your information, the details about the room open in your place, and sift through the matches these apps select for you.
You can also use these apps and websites to look for available rooms. Either way.
Once again, try to avoid desperation so that you have time to chat with potential new roommates before moving in, or allowing them to join you in your lease.
Connecting online or via phone is a great first step, but it’s always better to meet in person for a longer talk to determine if you can stick it out together.
Of course, other factors can have an impact on your decision. Will it be a long-term relationship, or simply a short-term place to crash until you can afford a new dwelling on your own?
Then, there’s the ever-popular option of Craigslist. That’s where I found my LA roommates.
We’ve all heard the Craigslist horror stories. If you didn’t, then just know that they exist, and
some most of them are very true, especially in Los Angeles.
But to be honest, sometimes there’s nothing easier than hopping online, listing a request for a roommate, and interviewing a variety of locals to find someone you click with.
Or, do what I did: go through ads and reply to those with good prices in desirable areas.
Although you never know who you’ll end up finding on Craigslist, it can also offer a wealth of possibilities, great roommates and best rent prices in Los Angeles. Proof: I live in Sherman Oaks, in a very nice 2 bedroom with cheap rent and a great roommate.
Be specially wary of crazies on Craigslist.
I saw this advice recommended by someone else. I haven’t tried this, but you can check out the many Los Angeles college campuses.
From USC, UCLA, and FIDM to CSULB, Occidental College, and LMU among others, there’s an almost endless supply of 20-somethings with whom you can share a room in Los Angeles.
When it’s time for you to start looking for roommates in Los Angeles, check out the varied colleges and universities throughout the area. You’ll be looking for college students who have an open room, are looking to live off campus, or who simply need affordable housing.
These dorm-free students can not only help you share the rent, but can introduce you to an entirely different side of life in Los Angeles. Or, join college students who need an extra roommate to share rent or fill an extra bedroom.
Apartments near colleges aren’t too reasonably priced, however, especially if they’re owned by the university or college. You’ll probably want to be somewhere further away from actual campuses.
5. How to find the right roommate in Los Angeles?
I’m guessing now you’ve scoured each of the above options, and have started browsing through either (a) a list of potential roommates who don’t seem too dangerous, or (b) looking at all the ads on Craigslist for who’s renting out a room. What’s next?
When renting out to someone
If you’re renting a room in your (new) place to someone, you’ll need to devise a system that helps you filter through the potential LA roommates that just can’t make the cut. Develop a list of questions that you’ll ask each person you meet with.
I haven’t been in this position yet, but here are some sample questions for those looking to rent your extra room could include:
- How often do you move?
- Do you switch places every time your lease is up?
- What do you do to support yourself?
- What’s your idea of the perfect Saturday night?
- Where do you work, and what’s your daily schedule like?
- What are your goals in this city?
- Are you a pretty predictable person, or full of surprises?
- Is there anything you’re looking for in your new roommate, or the apartment?
You need to know a bunch of stuff on how you’ll live together, too.
Will you be splitting bills in half, and will you each be responsible for your own groceries?
Are there any strict or specific rules your new roommate needs to follow, or is there anything you’d like to share about your life?
Do you, or your new roommate, have a significant other who often spends the night, or perhaps a friend who likes to crash on the couch each weekend?
Don’t dismiss these questions as bothersome. Trust me, I’ve lived with really bad roommates; it’s not fun by any means, and it does intrude on your schedule, your daily life, your goals and mental health.
Ask those questions. Spend the time to iron out all potential issues.
When renting from someone
When you’re the one in the hot seat, on the other end of the roommate questioning process, be open and honest.
Remember to have your own questions ready as well because you’re there to also see if the apartment and your future roommate are a good fit.
Some sample questions that you could ask are:
- What is included in the rent each month?
- Are utilities separate, and how will we be splitting them?
- Is the apartment mostly furnished?
- Is there anything you’d like contributed?
- What’s your daily schedule like?
- Where do you work; what do you do?
- Are you more of a homebody?
- Do you invite people over often?
- What’s the landlord like?
- Are they living on-site, or are they easy to get in touch with whenever necessary?
Ultimately, both you and a future LA roommate want to get to know each other.
The bottom line on finding roommates in Los Angeles
If you’re the one who’s renting out the place to someone, be very careful.
As you conduct your search on these various sites and apps, or even through the suggestions of friends and coworkers, make sure to perform background checks on each roommate you’re considering.
You will have a lot of choice. Many people will apply.
Ask your applicants to share references of previous people they’ve lived with and even their landlords.
Then, you’ll want to hop online and do a little Google searching. Become a stalker for an hour. Check out their social media sites and pages: are they a nonstop party person? Do they fit with your lifestyle, or are they going to throw a big wrench into your daily life and habits?
And the exact same thing applies when you’re the one taking over a rent of a single room in someone else’s place. Check them out. In these cases, it never hurts to be very cautious and careful.
This may sound petty to you, but trust me, with the kind of shady people you can run into here in Los Angeles, this cannot be too much. I’m sure other LA actors will back me up on this.
A good roommate may be hard to come by, but doing your research and planning well in advance will definitely increase your chances. I’m happily “roommated” and even though I can afford to move into my own place, I’m not really rushing into relocating yet.