Below, you’ll find ‘splainers on housing in Santa Monica, including resources on how to find a place to live here and why the rent is so damn high here. Want to spend as little time as possible finding a place in Santa Monica where you’re not ripped off on? Pay for a Westside Rentals membership ASAP. Want to spend a bit more time and get a great deal? Read sections 1, 2, and 4 below.
It is no secret to anyone who has considered moving to Santa Monica that finding a place to live here is not cheap. A person in 2013 looking to rent in Santa Monica – and about 70 percent of the 90,000 people who live in the seaside city are renters – could have expected to pay on average about $2,300 a month. Why is the rent so damn high?
Under Santa Monica’s rent control law, Charles and Carol Gasko enjoyed a fixed rent of $1,145 a month. For 15 years, they lived in their apartment in the well-heeled Wilmont neighborhood, walking distance from Santa Monica’s bustling Downtown and the Palisades Bluffs. That is, until they were arrested by FBI agents in June 2011. Charles and Carol Gasko were actually the aliases of notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and his companion Catherine Greig.
In the face of skyrocketing rents, Santa Monica has struggled to maintain its commitment to economic diversity among its residents. New construction or market-rate rental units in the city’s 8.3 square miles is not likely to ever be enough to satiate the demand for housing enough to stabilize rents.
There is no any secret sauce for finding a rent-controlled apartment (well, not anymore, thanks to vacancy decontrol). But given the high cost of rent, we figure you’ll take any intel in finding the best possible place on your budget.
Renting in Santa Monica, Part 5: Renting Outside of Santa Monica
You can get more apartment for your money by renting in West LA, Palms, or Mar Vista. But whether or not that’s a better deal depends on what you value. Part 5 is next in Winter 2017.