The late-1970s sitcom Three's Company is a testament to the eternal wackiness of renting in Santa Monica. In case you somehow don't know, the show is about two young women (Janet and Chrissy) who need one more roommate to make their rent affordable, and the most readily available, decent roommate is a guy (Jack) who has to pretend he is gay in order to get the ok from the conservative landlords (the Ropers). The trio rents a large, groundfloor apartment near the beach. What would such a space cost now? We asked an expert on Santa Monica and Venice real estate.
The Three's Company pad was an incredible apartment. The opening credits, with all the footage of the roommates casually hanging out on the beach bike path and a brief shot looking down a street toward the beach, seem to suggest that it's relatively close to the ocean. (And the building that they used for the exterior shots is just a couple blocks away from the beach.)
Janet and Chrissy double up in one of the apartment's bedrooms, leaving Jack with his own. They all share the bathroom, but still—three people across two bedrooms isn't bad at all. The unit also has a spacious eat-in kitchen in a separate room, accessed through a swinging door.
Downsides to the apartment are that it has no on-site laundry and is pet-unfriendly (as we learn in an episode where the three get and then frantically try to hide a puppy). The upside is that the total rent is just $300 (as we discover when they misplace the rent envelope in the season one finale "It's Only Money"). That $300 was probably a lot of money for a florist shop employee (Janet), an entry-level office worker (Chrissy), and a culinary student (Jack).
It would be a shock to no one that the 2015 rent for a similar apartment would definitely be much, much more than $300. Curbed asked Pardee Properties Leasing Specialist Penny Muck to estimate the cost of the Three's Company apartment in 2015, and she says it would probably be at least $5,000 a month. Here's Muck's rationale for that painfully modern rent, assuming a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with a step-down living room that's about as close to the beach as the Three's Company apartment was:
"There are a few apartments that fit this bill in Santa Monica on Ocean Avenue in Northern Santa Monica in a 20 - 40 year old building. The going rate for this kind of unit in 2015 would be approximately $5,000 to $6,000 a month. In 2014, two units in a particular building that is similar to the specs of the Three's Company apartment leased for $4,400 and $4,500 per month. Both were approximately 1,400 square feet each. This estimate is based on the fact that residential rents in Santa Monica have risen by 15.1% from 2014 to 2015."
· Renters Week 2015 [Curbed LA]