Of rents and renovations

Record-breaking house prices: A good thing for the rental market

The real estate market’s loss has been the rental market’s gain.

Los Angeles’ record-breaking housing prices have left some would-be buyers content to wait and see. Meanwhile, residential streets are littered with dumpster detritus as homeowners who can’t afford to move turn to renovation.

While some people are determined to stay close to home — interior designer Jamie Rummerfield of Woodson & Rummerfield says one client went so far as to rent an Airstream trailer and park it on the lawn — many others choose to rent actual homes.

“You don’t want to sacrifice your lifestyle just because your house is being renovated,” says True Cross, an agent with Regal Estates in West Hollywood.

Indeed, no. That’s why agents are seeing a spike in the number of people looking for a rental.

Temp renters also compete with a constant stream of itinerant actors, directors and writers, all of whom want a view and pool to call their own. “You don’t get the fantasy of living in Los Angeles in a hotel,” says Jory Burton of Sotheby’s Realty.

Furnished properties on the Sunset Strip start at $12,000 a month. Those with studio cars to pick them up may prefer Malibu, where rates start around $18,000; double or triple if it’s the summer months. And that doesn’t include a security deposit equal to four months’ rent.

Even with rental rates on the rise, some realtors would rather not go there. Says Mia Trudeau of Windermere Properties, “Leases are a great way to get your card out there, but many times the client — especially if they’re in the industry — has way too-high expectations.” She recalls one who insisted on removing the furniture and repainting the walls, even though he only planned to live in the home for a few months.

On the other hand, renting does have its privileges: Agents get commissions up front.

Sunset Plaza

Beachwood Canyon

Five-bedroom, six-bath gated villa with tennis court, detached guest house, pool and gym with gourmet kitchen and indoor spa. Property offers city view and privacy.
Monthly lease: $40,000
Contact: Michael Eisenberg,
Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills South,
(310) 281-4577

One of Hollywoodland’s original homes, this property has five bedrooms, four baths, a formal dining room with sunroom, gourmet kitchen with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances and a private office/studio. Property features many decks and terraces with views of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Park.
Monthly lease: $12,500
Contact: True Cross,
Regal Estates,
(323) 376-3500


Santa Monica

Two-bedroom, one-bath Moroccan-influenced cottage features a detached artist’s studio/office. Amenities include a rooftop garden with city views and a hot tub.
Monthly lease: $3,500
Contact: Brie Arbaugh,
Bulldog Realtors,
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom Craftsman home built in 1905. Renovated, with a multimedia system that includes plasma-screen HDTV and TIVO.
Monthly lease:$4,900
Contact:Brie Arbaugh,
Bulldog Realtors,
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