One of SFist's biggest pet peeves is apartment hunting. Even worse, spending days (or months in some cases) finding any place in your price range, and then finding out your friend found a great deal right away in the same neighborhood for $300 less a month. But what you thought might was a great deal a couple of years ago may be the high end of the market these days.
In Berkeley, the rental market is particularly down the past few months, meaning great deals for Cal students and Berkeley residents alike. Between the post dot com economy and the increased development, the vacancy rate has increased from under 1% to 3-5%.
Check the market out yourself - maybe a negotiation with your landlord is in your future.