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As a new international student arriving newly to the United Stated finding adequate housing may be a stressful task. Living in Los Angeles area you have access to variety of apartments for rent. The information provided here is ONLY a resource. L.A. Trade-Technical College makes no representation as to the condition or suitability of accommodations provided by these listings. The College is under no obligation to provide nor is affiliated with any of the organizations listed on this page.
Before you arrive to Los Angeles, gather as much information as you can about the City and its surrounding. You need to budget the cost of living in Los Angeles into your expenses. Live within your means and avoid over-extending yourself.
Use your social media network to find out more about places to live from other friends, or friends-of-friends who have lived in the area. There is also a resource list that is available on this page for your convenience.
Below are some tips to consider when you search for housing:
- Rent in different areas of Los Angeles can vary. Make sure that you do a thorough comparison taking different factors into consideration (e.g. commute time to the College, area safety, quality of accommodations, etc.)
- Be sure to ask these questions:
- How much is the rent?
- Is there a lease? Or is this rental month-to-month?
- Is there any security deposit for moving in (e.g. sometimes it is one month’s rent in addition to 1st month)?
- Are utilities included (i.e. gas, electric, water, cable, laundry)?
- Is parking included? Or, is there easy access to public transportations?
- When does the rent have to be paid? (e.g. beginning of the month or later)
- Is the location near shopping areas?
- How many occupants live in the apartment? Is this shared like dormitory-style rooms with shared bathroom & kitchen, or individual apartments with complete accommodations?
- Read the 5 big mistakes first-time renters make to make better choices about your housing selection.
- Look out for scammers. At the least, check the following:*
- Google the address to make sure it exists
- Make sure the apartment exists
- Make sure the person offering the apartment is authorized to do so
- Check to make sure the apartment is not listed as Airbnb
- Be prepared because you may need to complete a background check, which may include bank account information, previous addresses, and references.If they ask you for a Social Security Number (as some landlords may require), you can request for a support letter from our office (International Student Center) to indicate that you are an international student and do no have a Social Security Number.
- Check for safety and security safeguard the building has in place. Remember we are located in an inner city and accommodations may vary drastically.
Leasing an Apartment
Once you have found the apartment of your choice, you receive a lease agreement. Leases are usually one-year term or 6-month term. So, ask the landlord about the term of the lease. Your rental agreement or lease should be in writing and you should ask for a copy from your landlord. Read it thoroughly and be sure you understand the terms of lease completely before signing it. If there is any language you do not understand, ask a reliable person to explain it to you. At a minimum, a lease or rental agreement should include the following:
- Rent amount
- Required damage deposit
- Length of time the lease is valid for
- Apartment rules
- Lease termination rules
- Landlord’s responsibility for repairing damages
Be sure to thoroughly check the apartment for any damages before moving in. Check all plaster on walls, rugs/floorings, cabinets, appliances, draperies, etc. Repairing these damages should be the responsibility of the landlord. You can tell landlord that your moving in is contingent upon completion of these repairs, and ask for a specific completion date in writing. If the landlord is not willing to make the repairs, at the least, be sure the damages are listed in the lease.
When you are ready to move out, make sure to leave the apartment in the same condition you rented it at first. You are responsible for any damages you cause to the property, and for this reason in most rental agreement there is a security deposit charge before you move in. If you leave the apartment in the same condition you first rented it, you could receive your full security deposit depending on your contract. Reasonable wear and tear are usually expected.
It is always good to pay rent and other payments by check, not cash. When writing with a check, in the Memo section, write the purpose of the check (e.g. rent for February). Make sure you get a receipt with the amount and date from your landlord, particularly if you are paying in cash. If you must pay in cash for rent, get a signed and dated receipt from the landlord.
Leasing versus Month-to-Month Renting
This type of lease commits you and the Landlord to a 30‐day time period for use
of the rental apartment. You can terminate the lease as long as proper notice has been given to the Landlord. The Landlord is also free to change the terms of the lease each month, like raising the rent or asking you to leave.
If, for any reason, you need to leave before your lease expires, some landlords will allow you to sub-let to another tenant. Sub-letting is only allowed with the landlord's permission, and some landlords do not permit it. Keep in mind, that even if you have permission to sub-let, you are responsible for the rent payment each month, whether or not you have collected it from the sub-tenant. Be sure you evaluate carefully who you sub-let your apartment to. Any damages caused by your sub-letter will be your responsibility.
Some search links to apartments in the Los Angeles area:
Some links to Homestays
For students who want to arrive here and then search for more permanent housing, Homestay, hotels, and Airbnb can be options.
A Homestay is an affordable short or long-term student housing options. Through the Homestay websites you will be matched with a family near the school. A homestay will provide students an opportunity to practice speaking English and learn to merge successfully into the local culture. The links below provided some options for homestay: