Advice for recent grad finding apartment in Los Angeles

My niece just got her first job and is relocating to Los Angeles. She’ll be working just off the UCLA campus in Westwood. She doesn’t know anyone in the area and has about 3 weeks to find a place and get moved in. She’ll have a car.

Any advice from locals would be appreciated. In particular, what neighborhoods should she be looking in that are a little cheaper than Westwood/Beverly Hills but not a soul-crushing commute? What are the most-used websites in LA for finding apartments or roommate situations?

Thanks for any tips or suggestions.

Craigslist is undoubtedly the most used website for finding a place to live and roommates. Westside Rentals is also good for finding homes and apartments.

UCLA is on LA’s Westside. The closer you get to the ocean, the more expensive a place to live will be. Generally speaking, it will likely be very challenging to find a place that is affordable anywhere on the Westside. If “a little cheaper than Westwood/Bev Hills” is the applicable standard, your niece might try looking in Palms, which is sort of “south Westwood,” or maybe Culver City.

Hollywood, particularly East Hollywood, will probably be more affordable, but safety can be a concern.

Farther out to the North and East is the Valley, e.g., Valley Village, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Reseda, etc. The commute to UCLA is not so bad in distance, but it can be - and at rush hour will be - horrific in terms of traffic.

The commute from the South Bay will also be bad. And there are neighborhoods in that part of town I would not call all that safe.

No advice, just sympathy. I commuted up and down the 405 for a while. Unbearable. Nearly killed me a couple times (back in the motorcycle days).

Best of luck!

Summer is a great time to find sub leases near a major university. at least someplace to park your stuff temporarily while one gets acclimated to the area while looking for more permanent accommodations.

Take what @Dropo said seriously about East Hollywood (and the advice from @Dropo overall). Hollywood is rather dangerous now, especially for a young woman, despite it being more affordable. There is a considerable amount of vandalism and an epidemic of homelessness and open drug use according to my friend who just moved out of Hollywood. Unfortunately police are limited in what they can do in terms of any property crime.

The site for CL is craigslist: seattle jobs, apartments, for sale, services, community, and events for Westside/South Bay

As @Gatopescado said, it’s tough - affordable housing is in short supply, especially in that area.

You/she might consider asking about specific neighborhoods on here or somewhere like Around Los Angeles, there are sometimes very nice neighborhoods next door to a somewhat high-crime neighborhood.

I would suggest just finding a room in a house shared by students. Then she can take several months to explore the neighborhoods and her apartment options.

Missed the edit window and something autopopulated my CL URL. It says “seattle” but the link is actually for the West side.

Commuting to Westwood from the valley during rush hour is a horrorshow. Just don’t do it.

Thanks for all the info in your post, that’s exactly what I was looking for.

Sympathy is appreciated. I’m glad I’m past that point in my life.

Great advice, I will tell her to look into this.

And thanks for all the other responses.

I know nothing about LA. But this was my solution when I moved to new cities.

Back then there was no internet, so I just went to a campus and read notices taped to bulletin boards. It gives you a start so you can learn the local geography, without rushing into the unknown.

This was how a long-ago girlfriend got her first apartment, pre-Craigslist—through the notices on bulletin boards at the local university. It worked, she had a nice bedsitter, with a tiny kitchen, a serviceable bathroom, and a combination bedroom/dining room/living room. It was perfect for a 22-year-old with a job.

We’ve lost touch, and I’m sure that it was only up from there for her. But she got that apartment thanks to bulletin board notices at the local university. No harm in checking them out, anyway.

The San Fernando Valley is probably cheaper but as mentioned above the
commute time is long due to there being a limited number of routes through
the Santa Monica Mountains. Traffic on the 405 freeway through Sepuvleda
pass goes at a snail’s pace for much of the day. It is also much hotter
due do the mountains blocking out the sea breezes. Temperatures during
the summer months are frequently over 85° F (approx 30° C). Also air
quality (i.e. smog) tends to be worse.