The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Travel Nurse Landlord

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Travel Nurse Landlord

15th June 2020

One sector of the furnished rental market is renting to monthly traveling professionals, and the most popular traveler-group right now is probably traveling nurses. They stay for about 3 months at a time while they’re taking contracts all over the nation and typically make very good tenants for your furnished rental.

Traveling nurse rentals are an interesting niche that often get overlooked because potential landlords don’t know much about them or how to best market their property specifically to travel nurses. Luckily, KeyCheck and Furnished Finder have teamed up to create easy-to-use tools to help you learn how to best serve the travel nurse population.

Perhaps you’re already a host on Airbnb or VRBO and you’re looking for a longer-term tenant for your furnished unit? Or maybe you’re converting your traditional rental into a furnished rental to capitalize on the surge of medical travelers coming to your area.

Once your rental is up and running, these platforms make it easy to market and manage your monthly furnished rental to travel nurses and other traveling professionals.

Why Travel Nurses

To understand why it might be preferable to rent to this demographic, let’s start by explaining how the travel nurse career works.

Travel nurses are experienced nurses hired to fill needs in hospitals experiencing a short-term shortage of staff. Most hospitals require their travelers to have at least two years' experience, but you may find some with slightly less experience. Sometimes the shortage of staff is due to medical or personal leave, an influx of patients during a busy season, or a high number of staff turnover.

A typical travel nurse contract lasts thirteen weeks, often with the option to extend. Typically, within a month or so of working a contract travel nurses will have an idea if they are staying in the area longer and most of them love to extend their leases at that point if they can.

Because a lot of travel nurses travel solo and move so frequently, they avoid packing any true furniture or large belongings. Many nurses travel with just their car, so they are willing to pay a little more than a long-term renter if the space is furnished and has basic necessities. While the furnishings may require a higher upfront cost, you can often recoup this by pricing your unit slightly higher than you would be able to for a long-term tenant.

In addition, you rest assured knowing you are renting to reliable traveling professionals. Most travel nurses have plans to continue renting and are eager to maintain good references with landlords to make finding future housing easier. They are coming to the area specifically for work, so their income is all but guaranteed and they are usually more relaxed about small touches like carpet quality or the most up-to-date furnishings because they are only staying a short time.

Screening Tenants

Regardless of what type of rental you choose to pursue, it is important for your safety and security to have a reliable screening process in place, and to stick with it every time. Most of the time that includes running a credit & background check for the interested tenant, followed by securing the stay with a state-specific lease.

In a traditional rental, the prospective tenant would be able to meet you ahead of time to view the property and you could in turn get to know a little about them. With travel nurses this is usually not the case. Most of the time travelers will secure housing for future assignments while working in a different location, so all screenings typically have to be done remotely.

Furnished Finder, the leading housing site for traveling nurses and other traveling professionals, makes it easy for tenants to find your property. From there, landlords can communicate directly with the tenant and book without paying commissions. At this point in the process, now is the perfect time to clarify any details, get to know the applicant a bit, and move forward in the screening process.

Verify Future Tenants by Running a Background Check

The best way to avoid tenant headaches in the future is to screen a tenant properly the first time. Landlords of all types can get free tenant screening reports in minutes on KeyCheck. Ordering a free background & credit check is important to make sure they are paying their bills on time and don’t have any prior evictions, judgements, bankruptcies, or liens. Tenant screening is free and quick with KeyCheck as It enables you to collect the essential information you need to make a decision on who to rent to.

Timing is also important because travel nurses are staffing hospitals who have an immediate need for nurses so expect the contracts to move quickly. If it takes you several days to respond to applicants, they may have already secured another property. With a KeyCheck background check, you can quickly make decisions and avoid having an empty property that isn’t earning money or losing ideal tenants to other landlords while you vet your next tenant.

Protect Yourself with Residential Lease Agreements

If you are a new landlord, it may seem like writing up a lease is a quick and easy task compared to the work of setting up the rental. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case if you want to create a strong legal document that protects the landlord and the renter’s rights, while reflecting individual states laws that cover:

  1. Security deposit maximums

  2. Whether the security deposit has to be stored in a separate bank account

  3. How the deposit can be spent

  4. Deadlines for returning the security deposit

  5. Whether landlords have to provide a record of damage if the deposit is withheld

  6. Compensation for renters if the deposit isn’t returned

  7. When rent is due

  8. Late Fees

  9. Application fees

  10. Whether the tenant can withhold rent if essential repairs aren’t made

  11. Other tenant duties

  12. Subleasing

  13. How to serve notices for lease violations and terminations

  14. When the landlord can enter the home

Luckily, KeyCheck has created the perfect service to help with this. By signing up for a KeyCheck account, you can subscribe to a service that allows you to customize a state-specific lease where it will be ready for download in just a few minutes. Best of all, you can make as many changes as you like with unlimited downloads.

If you’ve been repurposing the same lease over and over for years, it may be time to make sure your lease is up to date with the latest state laws. This is for your protection as much as it is for theirs.

Get to Know Your Tenant

Most listing sites make it pretty easy to chat directly with your potential tenants directly, so we recommend being prepared by setting up a free tenant screening account before you need a tenant. When you are renting to professionals that travel for work, landlords typically like the fact that these they are there to do a job. This means that they’re gone a lot and are typically only home long enough to make a meal, catch up on some sleep, and get ready for their next shift.

Here are a few questions you may want to ask travel nurses who are interested in your property:

Will the applicant be bringing a pet?

According to Furnished Finder, the leader in travel nurse housing, about 30% of travel nurses choose to bring a pet along with them. The decision to rent to individuals with pets is totally up to you, but may affect the number of hits you get on your rental listing, so it is something to keep in mind.

Does the applicant travel with a spouse or partner?

While a lot of travel nurses travel by themselves, some bring a spouse or partner along for the ride. Others will even bring their children if they can arrange some sort of remote schooling. If you are renting a private unit this is usually not an issue to most landlords, but if you are renting a private room it is always good to double check.

Will the applicant be hosting overnight guests?

Many travel nurses who have spouses or partners back home arrange for visits during their assignment so they can see one another. Some travelers also host friends who are interested in seeing the area of the country where they are on assignment. Once again, this isn’t usually an issue for private units but is something to consider.

Are you able to speak with previous landlords?

You may want to consider asking for references from previous landlords. Most travel nurses should be able to provide a couple of references you can call to check on their reliability and if they left their previous spaces in good condition. This can be even more helpful if they travel with pets and you are concerned about potential damages.

Here are some suggestions to ask previous landlords when screening potential tenants:

Did the tenant pay rent on time?

If you have a longer lease some landlords can juggle late payments, but this becomes trickier if you are only renting to a nurse for three months at a time.

What was the condition of the house once they left?

This is a great question to make you more comfortable renting to travelers with small children or pets. If they were respectful and cleaned up at previous rentals, hopefully they will do that for you as well.

Would you be willing to rent to them again?

This question is straightforward and may help you decide if you are on the fence about whether a tenant is a good fit for you or not.

These are a great starting point if you are unsure how to go about talking with previous landlords. If you are renting a room in your home, keep in mind you may want to ask more questions since you will be sharing a space with the tenant as well.

TAKEAWAYS

If you are interested in the furnished rental market there are a lot of positives for marketing to the travel nurse niche. By setting yourself up to appeal to this demographic you can have better success listing on sites like Furnished Finder or Travel Nurse Housing. Once your rental is up and running, KeyCheck will have you running a successful short-term rental in no time.

about author

Alex McCoy, BSN, RN

Travel Nurse & Content Manager

Alex is a pediatric travel nurse and the content manager of Furnished Finder. After traveling for four years with her husband, a physical therapist they recently welcomed a daughter, Jade, into their crazy travel family. Read more articles from Alex on Furnished Finder or Travel Nurse Housing, or read about her previous travels here. Have an idea you would love to share with fellow travel nurses or landlords? Be sure to email her at Alex.McCoy@FurnishedFinder.com.