You may want to begin your search by asking your employer if the company has any real estate services; some large companies hold apartments for employees or have very good contacts in the rental market. Similarly, if you have any school affiliations–alumni or current–contact your school and ask if they have any apartment bulletin boards or online listings. These housing openings are often more affordable and safer than something you could find on your own, and many are open to people affiliated with the university.There are numerous apartment sites on the Internet, but Move.com apartments and rentals may be the best (see Resources) because it provides regularly updated listings of apartments available for rent in various neighborhoods, based on options you select. The site also offers moving tips, roommate advice, legal tips and other information that’s useful to renters.
Newspapers and magazines are good sources for apartment listings, both in print and online. Apartment Guide is a weekly publication of apartment listings available for free at just about any large grocery store; this guide tends to be heavy on the large complexes, as they charge money to advertisers, and people with only one or two apartments to rent won’t want to pay. The classified section of the Los Angeles Times includes listings for apartments in various areas, but the newspaper’s website just transfers you to another online apartment listing when you try to see classified ads for apartments, so you have to buy the paper. The Daily Bruin, a UCLA paper available for free at various places on campus, has a lot of west-side apartment listings, and can sometimes yield some real gems. It’s definitely worth a look if you are interested in living anywhere near UCLA.
Aside from letting you know what the area is like, driving around the areas in which you would like to live can be helpful in uncovering leads. People often post flyers advertising nearby apartment sublets and rentals; you can see them at churches, gyms, recreation centers, bus stop shelters, schools and telephone booths in the neighborhood.
A lot of landlords are too lazy or cheap to place ads anywhere at all, so all they do is dust off the old “For Rent” sign and set it up somewhere near the building, so to find these apartments, you have to drive by them. There are a lot of “For Rent” signs in and around West Hollywood, which can be a great place to live. There are also many in Hollywood, Westwood, Palms and all over the Valley. In the Valley, you can go up to some of these big apartment complexes and someone will show you around the whole building and treat you like royalty. You should try this just for fun, even if you end up deciding that the Valley is hot, smoggy and boring.