You need references, income proof, credit references, pet references and a letter of recommendation wouldn't hurt. Most importantly, bring your checkbook and be prepared to write a check or two.
What it Will Cost
Now that you are prepared for the worst, here is the good news: rent prices aren't bad here! If you were buying, that would be a whole different and expensive ball of wax, but prices to rent an apartment are actually pretty sweet. Expect to pay a lot more for a three-bedroom, while a one-bedroom should run you about half the price.
There is a grand total of 7 neighborhoods in Atascadero, but 5 are so small that you might miss them and the richness that they offer. Okay, you would also miss out on some great California wine, so be sure to visit these areas.
Route 46: One of the two largest neighborhoods in Atascadero.
Santa Margarita: This sparsely populated area. You will find vineyards and farms in this area.
El Camino Real - Patria: The majority of the residents renters, a large percentage of them walk or ride bicycles to work. This is especially interesting when you consider that everyone living here has about a 15 minute commute to work. Be warned: If you are looking for something larger than two bedrooms, it will be tough. Most of the rentals are two bedrooms or less here.
El Camino Real - Viejo: Unlike the Patria neighborhood, this one is a little tougher to get into. The rentals are a bit larger, with 3 and 4 bedroom apartments dominating. Because of that there are few vacancies so prices are a bit higher and some new construction is necessary.
Henry: This is great place if you are looking to rent, with lower rents for more space. There seems to be a higher than average number of vacancies and this is probably due to a slightly longer commute time by car.
City Center: The city center has everything for everyone. Great rentals, plenty to see and do, and great places to eat. It's a little busy at times, which should appeal to those with a more urban vibe. Rental prices are on the lower end of the range here.
Portola Road: This is a less ranch/farm area (well as less as it can be in Atascadero) and more of a urbanish place (OK, ranch-urban). Here you will find plenty of parks, restaurants and cultural activities.