Renting an apartment in Los Angeles is cheaper than New York City, San Francisco or Boston, but it can still be a pretty expensive venture, so the first thing you need to do is to go over your budget to determine what you can afford. One way to figure out your maximum limit for housing costs is to take your monthly salary after taxes and divide it by 3. If one third seems pretty low, them you have three options: get a better paying job and make more money, find a less expensive place to live, or find a roommate willing to share expenses.
Maybe you’ve decided to get a roommate. You have a friend in mind or you decide to use a roommate agency. However you arrive at this person, you need to decide carefully, because being friends who see each other once in a while versus living with some are two totally different things. That good friend that you see in the daytime can be the one to drive you completely nuts at night with their yoga, music or whatever habits.
You should ask a lot of questions before jumping in, such as have “they” ever lived with someone before? Do they have a significant other who will be staying over frequently? Or do they smoke, drink or do recreational drugs? If you’re sharing all bills, then you need to know about their credit and work history? The more you know, the better your chances of making a decision that you can live with, literally and don’t be afraid to offend. You’re going to be spending intimate space with this person. Who wants to do that with someone you don’t like or has habits so counter opposite to yours, that the living situation is unbearable.
Your roommate should sign the lease. If that is not the case, then you will bear full responsibility for the apartment and any resulting financial obligations. If your roomie loses his or her job, then you will be stuck paying the entire rent, which will totally negate your reasons for getting a roommate in the first place.
If all this seems like too much hassle, well, then maybe you need to look for a smaller place in a less expensive part of Los Angeles, where you can afford the rent and also eat at the same time.