The Renter’s Guide to Life in the Golden State [2022 Report]

home officeLiving in California seems like a great prospect for many people. The state is open and welcoming to all, and the climate is absolutely perfect for those looking to escape the cold.

However, one of the major drawbacks to California is the state’s high home prices, forcing many people who might be able to own their home in other states to have to rent.

That being said, renting in the Golden State can still be quite complicated, regardless of whether you’re looking for woodland apartments or an upscale L.A studio.

So if you’re looking to rent in California, what factors should you consider?

What to Look For

When looking for apartments, it’s important to understand some key things that you want out of your new place.

First, make sure that the apartments you’re looking at are in a good neighborhood. This means that the area is both safe and conveniently located.

Some other things you should consider include parking options, how other tenants will affect you, amenities, and the quality of your landlord.

Many people overlook these qualities during their apartment search, leading to them ending up in a less-than-ideal situation. 

Rental Prices

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Although the price of a rental unit isn’t everything you need to worry about, it certainly is one of the most important parts of renting. Before you even start your rental search, you should set a budget dictating what you’re willing to pay.

Typically, you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on rent, as you still need to account for other bills, utilities, and food. Setting a budget and ensuring that you don’t go over it is a great way to ensure that you don’t get into a bad financial situation.

Establishing a firm budget will also ensure that you don’t allow yourself to even look at rentals that you’ve decided you just can’t afford.

Come up with your firm budget and stick to it!

Before You Agree

Before you agree to any lease or rental agreement, you should look the entire agreement over thoroughly.

If you’re looking to take extra measures you may even want to consult a legal expert just to make sure everything in the agreement is sound. Landlords may have unfavorable clauses or rules hidden in their leases, and once you sign the agreement you are legally bound by it.

Before you sign any legal agreement it’s always smart to completely read through the agreement, but it is especially important when it comes to renting an apartment. You don’t want to be locked into an unfavorable lease, so it’s important to identify potential problems before you actually sign anything. 

Living in a Rental Unit

When living in a rental unit, it’s vital that you keep your space in as good condition as possible. When you initially sign a lease, you’ll have to put down a security deposit. When your lease is up, that security deposit will be used to clean up or fix any problems that you may have caused. 

If you take good care of your rental unit and have no problems at all, then you’ll receive your entire security deposit back in return. Obviously, that is the goal, so keep your rental in as good of shape as possible to maximize your return payment.

Check out this video tour of a minimalist 700 sq ft apartment in Silicon Valley.

Do you live in a rental unit in California? What has your experience been? Are things getting better or worse for renters in 2022?

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Kate Torrone on Email
Kate Torrone
My hubby and I are constantly on the road. After over 40 countries I became an editor of the Travel Section at Independent Femme, and I'm more interested in seeing even more new places than ever. Feel free to drop me a line to let me know which destination you'd like to see featured next!

I get asked a lot: where are you right now?

Currently, I'm in Cambodia (and loving it!)

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