Would you pay $1,050 a month to rent this University Heights ‘shed’?

The tiny studio apartment in University Heights got the attention of Reddit users who felt the requirements were too steep for a small place


A rental in University Heights has made the front page of San Diego’s Reddit for all the wrong reasons.

The 200-square-foot studio — called a “shed” by Reddit users — stood out to frustrated apartment searchers because it cost $1,100 a month, requires a credit score of 650 and, in general, seemed to be excessively overvalued.

Other requirements, listed on its Zumper advertisement, include an income of 2 1/2 times the rental amount, no history of evictions and rental references. It’s also limited in other ways: No pets are allowed, no laundry on site and street parking only. On the plus side, it has a wall air conditioning unit, a stove and small refrigerator.

The apartment, tucked into a residential area behind a house on Oregon Street, is managed by La Mesa-based JD Property Management and Realty, which lowered the price of the apartment from $1,100 a month to $1,050 a few hours after The San Diego Union-Tribune called. Despite its appearance, the company said it is not a shed and has been rented out, off and on, as an apartment for at least a decade.

While the unit might be a sign of everything that’s wrong with housing in Southern California to some people, there appears to be no shortage of San Diegans eager to live in a cheaper place. Michael Thompson of JD Property Management said he’s had roughly 100 inquiries about the studio since it became vacant 2 1/2 weeks ago.

So why lower the price? Thompson said many of the applicants have pets (not allowed) and the people who do qualify have visited the apartment and deemed it too small. He said the credit requirement is used for all of its properties and they need something to filter out all the applicants.

“It’s a basic requirement for all our properties. It’s not just this one,” he said. “Because the price is so low, we get tons and tons of emails and calls on it.”

The “shed” is part of a cluster of three apartments on Oregon Street owned by the Stotts Family Trust based in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, say property records. A representative of the family directed questions to the property management company.

The Reddit post was titled: “Someone is really charging people $1,100 to live in a shed! And they want you to have a 650+ credit score too.”

One Reddit user said it gave them the idea to rent out their closet. Another said it’s probably a better deal to move downtown. One commenter compared it to the State Farm commercial about “Cheryl’s she shed.”

“Ridiculous. I love SD, lived here for over 30 years but I’ve had enough,” wrote one user. “We’re moving out of state next week, this place is killing our bank accounts. Seems like the past 5 years or so have been especially bad.”

Evan Morris, a real estate agent and property manager based in Golden Hill, said studios typically rent out the quickest so, if it was taking a while to find a renter, it might be the market saying something.

“If it wasn’t overpriced, it would be rented,” he said.

Morris said the studio has advantages because it is private, detached, and in a good location. He said renters will be quick to sacrifice square footage to live in an area they desire.

Even though University Heights is a popular neighborhood, it isn’t commanding the same rental rates as Little Italy or Hillcrest. The average asking rate for a studio in University Heights was $1,116 a month in the second quarter, said real estate tracker CoStar. Other options for studios in the area are similar, but are usually bigger.

The Campus Avenue Apartments have 290-square-foot studios for $1,253 a month; An apartment complex at 4320 Campus Drive has 492-square-foot studios for $984 a month; The Cleveland House apartments have 500-square-foot studios for $979 a month; and an apartment complex on Madison Avenue has 400-square-foot apartments for $880 a month.

Nathan Moeder, principal with real estate analysts London Moeder Advisors, said it makes sense for renters to be frustrated in this housing market but the studio isn’t that different from efficiency apartments, or granny flats.

“You have people fired up because rents are so high right now,” he said. “I don’t know how many more listings you’re going to see like this. I don’t know how many people are just going to throw up a shed.”

Related: Why I spent $1,100 for 300 square feet