Travel Nurse Housing: Housing Stipend

There are 3 travel nurse housing options for travel nurses to consider:

Housing Stipend

Last week we discussed the company provided travel nurse housing. If you haven’t read this, I suggest that you take a look at it and read over the tax implications.

Today we are going to touch on obtaining your own travel nurse housing. There are multiple considerations when opting for travel nurse housing stipend. If you have a valid tax-home, you can sometimes pocket a little extra cash by obtaining your own housing.

Many travel nurses choose to find their own housing simply because of the additional financial benefit. If the travel nurse housing stipend is more than the rent, the traveler can pocket the remainder! This is a huge benefit for finding your own travel nurse housing.

It’s important that you treat each assignment individually and assess housing availability and cost prior to determining if you are going to accept a travel nurse housing stipend instead of company-provided housing. There are some areas that finding housing that is furnished is difficult. In these situations, it’s likely better to take company housing. Make sure that you have options.

Online Resources for finding Travel Nurse Housing

Things to consider when choosing the Travel Nurse housing stipend.

  • Does availability and price match what the stipend would be?
  • What is the minimum length of the lease? I recommend obtaining a month to month lease in case your contract is terminated early. However, these can be very difficult to find.
  • Do you want a private space or shared?
  • Do you need cable, internet, etc?
  • Will there be any deposits?
  • Is parking included?
  • What utilities are included? Furniture?
  • Calculate your anticipated cost with everything and make sure that your stipend will cover the costs.
  • Consider an unfurnished rental and furnish it yourself.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Obtaining your own Travel Nurse Housing

Advantages

  • You have full control over the location and type of travel nurse housing provided.
  • You may be able to find travel nurse housing that doesn’t cost the full ‘stipend’ and therefore, put a little additional money in your pocket.

Disadvantages

  • Travel Nurse Housing research can be very time-consuming.
  • The lease is in your name so there may be credit checks required from the accommodation.
  • If housing is limited in the area, you might actually get better housing by using the agency’s resources.
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Travel Nurse Housing: Agency Provided Housing

There are 3 travel nurse housing options to consider.
  • Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing – Discussed Below
  • Securing your own travel nurse housing with a ‘stipend’
  • Travel in an RV

Travel Nurse Housing Tax Implications

It’s important to understand that no matter which housing option you opt for, you must have a valid tax-home in order to be able to obtain ‘free’ housing. If you do not have a tax-home, your housing costs should be taxed as income. Many agencies will not tell you this.

Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

With agency provided housing, the agency takes care of everything for you.  From deposits (excluding any pet deposits), utilities, and furnishing.  All you should have to do is show up. Your travel nurse housing should be ‘move-in ready’.  Sometimes the internet or cable TV is not included. You may have to arrange this on your own if you need/want it.  Ask the agency if this is included. Many Agencies provide housing in hotels, motels, and extended stay type properties. These can vary greatly.  It’s important to ask what type of housing, and where and do your research.

Additionally,  if you are taking company provided housing, it’s important to know what is actually included in the companies description of ‘furnished’. ‘Furnished’ can mean a wide variety of different things to different people. I discussed the importance of clarifying what is ‘furnished’ in a previous post so I won’t rehash it here.

Questions to Ask about your Travel Nurse Housing

In addition to knowing what is furnished in your company provided housing, here is a list of other questions about travel nurse housing that you might find helpful.

  • What type of property do you provide? Apartment. Hotel. Etc.
  • What amenities does the apartment/housing offer? Ie fitness center, pool, business center (fax, copy, print).
  • Is parking provided? Is there a fee? Will the company cover?
  • The time frame for move-in and move-out.  Most companies will give you a day or two on both ends of the contract.
  • Contact information for housing.
  • Microwave, TV, Vacuum, provided? (don’t assume that your housing will include these items)
  • Address of the housing?

To-Do Before You Move Into your Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

The following is a “To Do” list to help you ease into your agency provided travel nurse housing smoothly:

  • Obtain the address and contact information of the housing and call them yourself to confirm your arrival date and time.
  • Research the area prior to your move. Use the internet. There are a ton of internet resources to check on crime rates, locations, police blotters, etc. Use these resources and if you find any information that might be concerning to you, notify your recruiter and request a different housing assignment if appropriate.
  • On arrival at the location, drive around the neighborhood and assess the safety. Does it appear to be a safe neighborhood?
  • Obtain a copy of the lease.
  • Obtain the after-hours maintenance/emergency contact information. (Sometimes this is included in your lease)
  • If you travel with a pet; request a copy of the pet rules. (You may have to sign a pet waiver).
  • Make sure to do a pre-inspection of the apartment as soon as you arrive. I would suggest that you also take photos of any damages and make sure that the manager is made aware and it is noted on your lease.
  • Check that all windows and doors latch and lock securely.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

Advantages

  • You don’t have to spend countless hours trying to find adequate and affordable travel nurse housing.
  • Many times you are actually treated better by the apartment staff when going through a large company. (They want you happy so they can get long-term business).
  • You are not responsible for monthly payments.
  • If housing is limited in the area, you might actually get better housing by using the agency’s resources.

Disadvantages

  • You have little to no control over the location and type of travel nurse housing provided.

Please keep an eye out for the next part of this series on travel nurse housing.

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