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RENTAL ADVICE: UK to LA

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Hi and thanks for reading.

I have an O1 visa (3 years until renewal) and am moving to Los Angeles to continue my film composing career.

My question is about renting.

I am going over in June for a few weeks to househunt with the hope of finding somewhere available for July/August when I hope to move permanently.

What kind of requirements are there for me to be able to rent an apartment? I have plenty saved up, so deposit, rent in advance or anything like that will not be a problem.

I don't really have a reference because I've been living with my partner for the last 3 years in the house she owns.

I haven't got a SS card yet but it will be the first thing I do when I go over in June.

I am self-employed but have an excellent resume of proffessional work I have done, with much more scheduled once I am in Los Angeles, so proof I am able to pay the rent won't be a problem.

Will I be able to rent a place no problem, or am I overlooking a lot of issues?

Any help and advice would be hugely appreciated.

Thank you,

Bobby

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You might have some difficulties since you don't have a credit score nor a SS card yet. That being said, if you have evidence that you have stable work lined up, you should be ok. You might have an easier time renting a property owned by an individual (versus a corporation or run by a large management company). Have you thought of subletting a place for a few months first? That way you can get a reference, get a better idea of LA and your situation, and don't have to worry about being "stuck" in a lease for a place you end up not liking.


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If you're asked for references, you can give your partner's name. She may vouch for you as a tenant even if you never had a formal agreement, but chances are that is not where you'll have issues. As pointed out before your lack of credit score may diminish your options.

Having said that, do you have an agent lined up? S/he may be able to help you with finding and renting a place. Are you going to be working for any of the major studios? If so, they normally have apartments or other accommodations available for temporary staff, either for the duration of the visa/contract or until they can get going on their own. It all else fails, you can consider long terms hotels, the rates of which are on a par with monthly rent or rent a room or carriage house from a colleague.

If I were in your shoes I would start lining up something immediately through contacts or internet search. Ideally you should have a few places lined up by the time you land because finding an apartment in LA may be daunting. Also bear in mind that most companies go into post production at the end of the summer and a lot of out of town resources come to town to finish all the projects. Be prepared to offer a three-month deposit - first, last and security - on the spot if you find a suitable place and rent it right away even if you're not going to occupy it immediately - the place may no longer be available in a week's time.

Last - but certainly not least - location, location, location. Traffic is hell is SoCal.

Don't sweat it but consider not waiting until you're here to start your search. Do it sooner.

Good luck!


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Thanks for the replies :)

I thought about a sublet, but to be honest, I know I want to be in LA for a minimum of 12 months.

I've spent a great deal of time there over the last 2 years, so know the areas quite well. I know I want to live around beachwood/los feliz/silverlake kind of areas, so I'm not too concerned with finding my feet or anything, just want to find a great house :)

I have an agent yes, at William Morris Entertainment, who are a very reputable company, but not all of my work comes from them as I'm freelance and also do production, play live, release records etc etc so I don't think they are obligated to formally help me find somewhere.

All the film composing I have done so far has been with an oscar-winning composer, so I don't know if this kind of accolade is something that helps instil a landlord's faith in me as a tenant?

I'm prepared to pay 3 months advance, thanks for the heads up. I was even considering paying 6 to be honest, to show I'm serious and have the stability. Do you think offering to do something like that would increase my chances of getting a place, or is it risky/stupid thing to do?

How long does it take for me to get a Social Security number?

Thanks so much for the advice - it's much apprecaited.

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Realistically you should have your SS card on hand no more than 3 weeks from the date you apply for it.

You can play the MPAA card but it won't help you pay the rent - pun intended. If push comes to shove, the 6-month deposit may seal the deal for you, just make sure it's in the rental contract that you're applying the money for the last months of rent, so if/when you hand your notice your last months are covered. It's LA - it's all about money, in the end. If you don't have a bank account yet, open one as soon as you land and never do any transactions in cash. Used checks for everything related to property rental. If you must use cash, get a detailed receipt on the spot - not later. (Some banks will open you a checking account without SSN.)

Even though they are not under any kind of obligation, William Morris can help you as a reference or putting a good word with the landlord. It won't hurt you to ask them for help. It all depends on the individuals you're dealing with.

Edited by JohnR!

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