Should You Lease a Travel Nurse Short Term or Long Term Housing?

If you are a travel nurse, then you know that finding housing can be a challenge.

There are many different options out there, but it can be difficult to decide which is the best fit for you. Should you lease a short-term or long-term rental?

We will explore the pros and cons of each option and help you make the best decision for your needs!

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The pros and cons of short-term leases

Short-term leases offer the flexibility to move around as your assignment changes.

If you only need housing for a few months, then a short-term lease is a great option. You won’t have to worry about signing a long-term contract, and you can move as soon as your assignment is up.

However, short-term leases can be more expensive than long-term leases. This can eat into your travel nursing housing stipend quickly, causing you to lose money than gain money for duplicating expenses.

As a travel nurse, short-term leases are beneficial because there are no penalties at the end of your lease if you maintain the terms of the contract. Also, the housing owner is not surprised at the end of the lease as you would not need to break the contract early, causing additional fees for long-term leases.

The pros and cons of long-term leases

Long-term leases offer stability and security.

If you know you will be in one location for an extended period of time; then a long-term lease is a great option. You will have the same housing for the duration of your assignment, which can be beneficial if you want to avoid the hassle of moving around constantly, especially for contracts that are known to extend travelers consistently.

Long-term leases can be more expensive on the back end when you cancel your lease early, but over time they are often cheaper than short-term leases.

The main thing to consider with long-term leases is that you may be penalized for breaking your lease early. This can be costly, and it is something you will need to factor into your decision-making process.

Typically when I am looking at long-term leases in an area such as apartments or condos, I take into consideration the overall cost of breaking the lease. This is many times at least one month’s rent. Sometimes this cost is actually cheaper than short-term rentals on the same property. So you will need to weigh the pluses and minuses of every housing option.

How to decide which is the best option for you

The best way to decide if a short-term or long-term lease is right for you is to consider your needs, preferences, and overall cost for both.

If you don’t mind living in a hotel, renting a room, or paying for short-term lease costs, then go for it! These may be the option for you.

However, if you would prefer stability and know that your assignment will last for an extended period of time, then a long-term lease may be the better option, even with the potential penalties for breaking your lease.

You may need to consider additional factors such as pets and children. If you have pets or children, then a long-term rental may be the best option as it will provide them with stability as well. However, you can pay additional fees such as pet rent or additional occupant rent, depending on the particular housing option.

The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a short-term or long-term lease.

Questions to ask before signing a lease

Once you have decided whether a short-term or long-term lease is right for you, there are some important questions you need to ask before signing a lease.

Be sure to ask about the following:

How much is the security deposit, and is it refundable?


Typically the security deposit is refundable if you do not break the lease terms and there is no damage to the unit. If these conditions are not met, the landlord has the right to keep part or all of your security deposit to cover these expenses.

What is the length of the lease?

The length of the lease will be either short-term or long-term, depending on your needs. A lease is usually 12 months, but many management companies will provide leases for 6 months or up to 18 months. However, depending on the landlord or management company, rental agreements can be flexible.

What are the penalties for breaking the lease early?


As mentioned earlier, there may be penalties for breaking your lease early. Be sure to ask about these fees before signing the lease so that you are not surprised later on. Many times the penalty is one month’s rent and may be more lucrative than short-term leases.

How much notice do I need to give before vacating?


Ask how much notice you need to give the landlord or management company before you vacate the unit. This is typically 30 days, but can vary depending on the lease agreement.

What is included in rent (i.e. utilities, furniture, etc.)?

Be sure to ask what is included in your rent. Utilities, furniture, and other items may or may not be included. Get very specific on exactly what is covered in the price of rent and what you are responsible for. Amenities such as parking, lawn care, pool access, etc. Whatever you feel is important to you and others traveling with you.

When is rent due, and how do I pay for it?

This is important to know so that you can budget accordingly. You will need to know the amount of rent due as well as when it is due. Most landlords or management companies require rent to be paid on the first of the month, but this can vary. Additionally, you will need to know how much rent is to be paid. Is it by check, money order, or electronic funds transfer? Always make sure you get a receipt for the rent you are paying for tax time at the end of the year.

Lastly, rent should be prorated depending on when you move in. If you move in the middle of the month, the management company should prorate your rent for the month you move in. For example, if your rent is $1,400, but you move in on the 15th, then your rent should be prorated to $700.

Is renter’s insurance required?



Renter’s insurance is not always required, but it is strongly encouraged, especially for travel nurses since we tend to live out of our cars and suitcases. This type of insurance protects your belongings in case of theft, fire, or other damages.

Many times, the landlord or management company will require proof of insurance before they will allow you to move in.

Is there emergency maintenance available?

Things happen, and you do not want to be stuck in the middle of the night when damage occurs.

Find out if the landlord or management company has emergency maintenance available and what the procedures are for reporting an issue.

Keep in mind that most maintenance issues are not considered an emergency, but if you have a burst pipe or no heat in the middle of winter, you will want to know who to call.

How much notice will you provide before entering my rental space?

This is important to know for your privacy. Most landlords or management companies will give you at least 24 hours’ notice before entering your rental space.

Some states have laws that require the landlord to give you a specific amount of notice, so be sure to check your state’s laws.

I have personally been in a situation where my landlord would enter my property whenever they felt like it, and many times I was asleep and naked because I worked the night shift and slept during the day. My safety was ultimately affected on several occasions, and I took precautions to prevent the management from entering my home without notice.

Are pets allowed?

If you plan on traveling with your pets or are considering getting one, you will want to know what the policy is to have them on the property.

Many times, landlords or management companies will not allow pets, or they will charge a pet deposit or fee.

Some places have weight limits or breed restrictions, so be sure to ask about that as well.

You may also want to inquire if there are any amenities for your pet on the property or nearby because you will want to be comfortable just as much as your pet does too.

Is there any construction planned near the residence?

Lawn mowers, construction, and loud noises, Oh my!! Where are my night shifters at?

The last thing you will want is to be near construction when you are trying to sleep during the day prior to your night shift.

Be sure to ask about any construction planned for the near future and if there are any current construction projects going on.

You may also want to ask about the noise level in general in the area.

What is the guest policy?

You will want to know how many guests you are allowed to have over and if there are any restrictions.

Some places do not allow guests to stay for more than a few days, while others do not mind as long as you are not having parties every night.

Keep in mind that your guests are also subject to the rules of the property, so be sure to let them know what is expected of them.

You do not want to be held responsible for your guests’ actions, so it is important that you are clear with them from the beginning.


Asking these questions will help you to make an informed decision about which lease is best for you. Be sure to do your research and ask around before making a final decision.

There is no wrong answer, but there is an answer that is best for you and your current situation.

What are your tips for short-term or long-term leases? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Travels!