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The Top 5 Renter-Friendly Cities in California

Who doesn’t dream of living in California? It’s a state full of sunshine, beaches, and wine. Building a home there is a goal for thousands of people across the country. 

However, we know that it can be tough to find a city in California that makes sense for you as a renter. That’s why we’ve done the work for you and found the most renter-friendly cities in California. Using the data from our Top Cities for Renters list, we’ve highlighted the cities in California which have the best balance of affordability, healthcare, job opportunities, culture, and many of the other things renters look for.


Our top-ranked renter-friendly city in California is Redding, a cultural and economic hub in the Shasta Cascade region of California. Situated along the bank of the Sacramento River, Redding is home to over 90,000 people. It’s one of the sunniest cities in the country and a great place to picnic.

Redding is an economic center in its region. The Redding Metropolitan Area is the 29th most dynamic MSA in the nation. Its top employers include Mercy Medical Center, Shasta County, the CA Transportation Department, and Wal-Mart.

You’ll also find plenty to do in Redding and its surrounding area. Are you into outdoor activities? If so, you can head to Turtle Bay Exploration Park, walk the famous Sundial Bridge, and take a stroll down the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail. A little driving will take you to several national parks and forests in the surrounding area, including Castle Crags State Park. Looking for something a little artsier? The Cascade Theatre offers a roster of different kinds of entertainment, from concerts to acrobat shows.


Fresno is our next renter-friendly city. As the cultural and economic center of the San Joaquin Valley, Fresno is home to just over 542,000 people. It’s a bustling mid-sized city surrounded by natural beauty and one of the most prosperous agricultural areas in the nation. The city’s largest employers are its community medical centers, the City of Fresno, and the state universities–California State and the State Center Community College District.

Fresno is chock-full of things to do. It has a thriving cultural scene, from the Artists’ Repertory Theatre to the well-known local punk and goth scene in the Tower District. If you’re looking for some outdoor activities, you can spend time roaming Woodward Park, home to the Woodward Park Shakespeare Festival. Down for a quick drive? You’re only a couple of hours from Yosemite National Park and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park. 


Madera, the county seat of Madera County, is also located in the San Joaquin Valley. About 61,400 people make their homes there. The city is known as “The Heart of California,” because it’s in the exact geographical center of California. Its top employers are mostly in manufacturing, trucking, and agriculture.

Like its neighbors in Fresno, Madera’s residents find themselves with easy access to Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings National Parks. You can also check out Nelder Grove, which is inside Sierra National Forest. Madera also has its own green spaces, including Lions Town & Country Park. You can also check out the Madera Wine Trail for the best wines around and visit the Madera County Museum for a close look at the area’s history.

yosemite california


Our next renter-friendly city is Merced, the county seat of Merced County. This diverse city of over 80,000 people is also located in the San Joaquin Valley. It’s known as the “Gateway to Yosemite” for its proximity to Yosemite National Park, which is only two hours away to the east. The city’s top employers are Merced County and Mercy Medical Center. The recently opened Merced campus of the University of California also provides the city with plenty of jobs, as the first research university built in America in the 21st century.

If you like the ocean, Merced might be your city. It’s close to Monterey Bay and many other beaches along the coast to the west. You don’t have to leave the city’s borders to find entertainment, though. Merced has its own cultural scene. Check out the Mainzer Theatre and the Merced Multicultural Arts Center for lots of things to see and do. 

Yuba City

Our last renter-friendly city in California is Yuba City, the county seat of Sutter County. It’s a small city in Northern California and is part of the Sacramento Valley. About 66,500 people call it home.  Yuba City is also home to the world’s largest dried fruit processing plant, Sunsweet Growers Inc. Besides that, retail and healthcare are its economy’s biggest supporters.

Like our other top cities, Yuba City is full of things to do. Outdoor activities include spending time paddle boating at Ellis Lake or visiting Sutter Buttes, the world’s smallest mountain range. If you’re a history buff, you can visit Bok Kai Temple, run by the Chinese community in nearby Marysville, to learn about the Chinese god of flooding and irrigation. Looking for a brain workout? You could try an escape room at NorCal Escape Co. 

We hope that one of these renter-friendly California cities looks like home to you. If not, you’ve got plenty of choices in the rest of Dwellsy’s inventory. Best of luck as you look for your ideal rental situation, and we’ll always be here to lend a helping hand.

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