Rich people’s problems: Not enough high-rent choices

There are very few days that I make it through without hearing someone complain that the rent is too high. And, look, I know people who don’t make a lot of money despite working two or more low-paying jobs can have trouble finding a place to live that’s affordable.

But if you think paying $1,400 a month for a studio is too much, consider the plight of the wealthy when it comes to finding a suitable place to live and entertain large crowds of friends and associates with an excess of guest rooms and breathtaking views of the local waterways.

This elite and discerning group of renters doesn’t have the stunning array of choices a regular person has. There are hundreds of studios and one-bedroom apartments available in town for the lower classes, but if your tastes run more toward a three-story beach house with six bedrooms and seven baths, you’re hamstrung when it comes to picking and choosing. You can’t find what you want while idly leafing through the latest edition of Apartments for Rent.

In fact, I could only find one example of what our mythical rich renter is looking for: A beautifully overbuilt mansion at 2 60th Place on Peninsula that’s currently listed for rent at $18,000 a month.

I’m gonna be honest with you for once: I don’t think I can afford $18,000 a month, but then I’m different from the very wealthy.

What does $18,000 a month get a deep-pocketed renter? According to no less a credible source than a real estate agent: “Endless ocean views, mesmerizing sunsets and romantic evening city lights lead you this five star luxury fortress located right on the beach. With approximately 6,900 square feet, 3-stories, 6 bedrooms, 8 baths, this magnificent light-filled Long Beach mansion is designed to entertain and offers the most luxurious lifestyle.”

The billiards room at the home at 2 60th Place in Long Beach. Courtesy photo.

Of course, it’s right on the water. That’s another way that the moneyed elite are severely limited in searching for a decent place to live: They’re stuck with properties on the water, whether it’s the Bay or the Pacific Ocean along the Peninsula or the canals of Naples. Anywhere else in town you’re not going to find suitable opulence.

And opulence is what you’re going to find in spades in the $18,000/month fortress by the sea, right down to a chandelier over the kitchen sink. To say nothing of the balance of the home’s decor, which wouldn’t be out of place at Mar-a-Lago, or the palace of one of the gaudier French kings. And, if the idea of climbing stairs all day doesn’t appeal to you, it comes with an elevator.

If you want to dip below the $18,000 mark in payments, it hardly needs to be said you’ll have to make some perhaps painful sacrifices. For $13,888 a month, you can live right on the sand at 5915 Seaside Walk on the Peninsula, just three doors west of the 60th Place rental, with 270-degree ocean views from the master suite and a much lighter, breezier contemporary interior design. You’re going to have to settle for just four bedrooms and five baths squeezed into the three-story (no elevator!), 4,876-square-foot home, with two separate living areas with TVs.

The breakfast nook and view at a rental at 5915 Seaside Walk on the Peninsula. Courtesy photo.

If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, that this would be a great party house, grow up and give up your dreams. Your landlord notes in the offering, “No parties/events allowed of any kind! Please do not bother asking.” What’s the point of renting a three-story beach house if you can’t trash the place every once in a while?

So, let’s save a little bit more on our last five-figure Long Beach offering, with an $11,000-a-month Peninsula house at 7019 Seaside Walk, the next-to-last house on the pointy end of the Peninsula.

The living room with fireplace and TV in the home offered at $11,000 a month at the end of the Peninsula. Courtesy photo.

The 4,876-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-bath pad has, of course, spectacular ocean views from all of its three balconies as well as from living areas and master suite. For bonus coziness, the place comes with three wood-burning fireplaces and, if you’re unconcerned with getting your steps in, an elevator, which is described as a “private elevator.” You might already assume that, since it’s in the house.

Can you have wild parties there? It doesn’t say no, but I wouldn’t advise asking.

Once again, Long Beach is highly touted by local Realtors as being the most affordable waterfront property in the state, and it’s true that $18,000 sounds like a bargain compared to some of the other beach pads we found for rent, the most notable being a nice stretch of beachfront in the exclusive and star-studded Malibu Colony where I counted 17 homes for rent for more than $100,000 a month, and one going (though not rapidly; it’s been listed for more than 150 days) for $200,000 a month.

The front porch and beach frontage at the $200,000-a-month Malibu rental. Courtesy photo.

Is it nice? Hell yes, it’s nice. It’s beautiful, with five bedrooms and six baths spread out over an expansive 5,650 square feet on a double lot featuring 59 feet of beach frontage. And it’s a beach that outclasses most of the strands in America.

But, is it worth it? As one Realtor told us, if you make a million dollars a day, $200,000 a month is nothing. So you just have to ask yourself a couple of questions: Do you make $1 million a day (and a depressingly high number of people do. Jeff Bezos reportedly makes $4.5 million per hour)? And, would you rather live in Malibu or Long Beach?

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.