Finding Short-Term Housing
Find a home between moves
Building a new home and need somewhere to stay temporarily? Relocating for work and looking for a convenient transitional spot while seeking a permanent place? No matter the scenario, there may come a time when you’re in the market for temporary housing. And while it may seem daunting, renting short-term doesn’t have to be. If staying with friends or family isn’t an option, there are plenty of other choices. Let’s explore some of the most common temporary housing solutions, and discuss other important considerations.
Short-term housing options
Extended stay hotels or places with short-term leasing availability may be the first things you think of when seeking out short-term housing options. But with the rise of online rental sites like Airbnb, you can find places that will feel like home and are a bit cheaper than a longer hotel stay. Here are some popular choices:
For accommodations of only for a few nights — or even a week or so — a hotel is a reliable pick. Note for the budget-conscious: Hotels usually charge by the night, so lengthier stays could get expensive.
Extended-stay hotels are ideal and can be affordable if you’re planning to stick around for a month or more. Most locations include access to amenities like a fully-equipped kitchen, a gym, free Wi-Fi, and daily breakfast. Some locations are pet-friendly and offer flexible rental periods, so you can work around your schedule.
Prefer a place that feels more “homey?” Consider a vacation rental. There are a number of reputable websites that offer a great value for those looking for short-term housing, such as:
- Owner Direct
Websites like these help connect interested parties with property owners who are looking to rent out their homes (or rooms in their homes). These spaces don’t require a lease and are furnished — just pack clothing and other necessities as needed, like you would for a hotel stay. While commonly used for vacationing, many rental listings offer extended-stay rental options.
Fully furnished short-term rentals
This category consists of apartments, townhomes, condos, or even full-sized homes — fully-furnished rentable spaces with variable lease terms. For these, typically the shorter the lease, the higher the monthly rental amount will be.
Corporate housing typically serves as temporary lodging for business travelers, but it can be a popular alternative to renting a home between jobs. These units are usually booked through an employer or a housing broker, so if you’re moving for work, check with your employer to see if this option is available.
When you sublet, you’re taking over the lease of someone else’s home for a designated period. Note that this option doesn’t always include furnishings and most often requires landlord or home owner approval.
On-base military housing
If you’re a military member who's moving and needs short-term housing, seek direction from the housing office on your current base. There may be temporary housing available at the new location. This can be a great idea because it not only provides housing and a shorter commute to work, but it may also include some payments for utilities in the monthly rental plan.
Want a unique space to call home while waiting to move into your permanent residence? Consider renting a tiny house or a motor home! These are unique, affordable spaces that tend to use minimal resources, which makes them an environmentally-friendly choice, as well.
Find the right living space for you
While searching for housing, be mindful of the short-term leasing laws in the city you’re moving to. Certain cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, for instance, have strict short-term rental restrictions. For example, in L.A. and San Francisco, you may not have the place to yourself unless you find a place of your own and sign a lease. That’s because in those cities, hosts must be permanent residents in the home and must be registered as business owners. L.A. also prohibits short-term leasing in rent-controlled buildings. In New York, whole-apartment rentals of less than 30 days are illegal.
These are just a few examples of some unique rental laws, but restrictions vary from state to state and even city to city. So prior to your move, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the local laws so you aren’t surprised later.
Things to consider in your short-term housing search
Many factors can influence the decision-making process. You may be looking for a place that’s within a certain budget, or where pets are allowed. However you arrange your checklist, keep these things in mind:
Know your budget. What’s the most you’re willing to spend on rent? Research housing costs in your new area to find the right financial fit.
Be prepared for pre-approval fees or screenings. You may be subject to a credit or pre-approval screening by the property owner. Other things like security deposits, cleaning fees or other rental charges could be assessed as well.
Have a plan for furnishings. If you aren’t moving all of your furnishings into a temporary space, you’ll need an option for storage — whether that’s storage in transit or delivering to a local storage unit. Moving companies, like U-Pack®, can store your belongings in the equipment you moved it in, at a local service center, until you’re ready for delivery.
Consider time of year. Availability may be limited and rental rates may be higher during busy periods (like during the summer if it’s a top area for vacationing). Or, you may find times of year where rates are much lower!
Know what your needs are. Check the lease or rental agreement for the things you can and can’t bring and consider the area. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to know policies on things like roommates, guests, parking and trash, and it may be helpful to know about things like public transportation and restaurants nearby.
Get access to essentials. Planning a longer stay or moving with your family? Look for a roomier place that includes things like a fully-equipped kitchen or on-site laundry facilities.
Find a place close to work or school. Target a spot that reduces your commute time. While living in the city’s entertainment center can be enticing, it may not be the most ideal location if work or school is farther away (and it may not be as budget-friendly).
Think of your pets. Unless you can board them, or leave them with family or a friend temporarily, keep your pets in mind when searching for housing. Some short-term rentals may be pet-friendly (and may charge additional deposit fees if they are), while others may not be. Check online or review leasing agreements before signing anything.
Tips for avoiding scams
The last thing you want is to fall victim to scammers, leaving you without money or a place to stay during your moving transition. Rental scams are an unfortunate reality, but there are ways to protect yourself:
- Avoid dealing in cash
- Don’t commit to a property or any upfront fees without researching it first
- Check reviews of the property and the property owner on the online rental site when booking, if available
- Read the entire lease or rental agreement before signing it
If you do become a victim of a rental scam, report it to local authorities or to the Federal Trade Commission.
Which solution is best for you?
Every situation is unique and there are many short-term housing accommodations to consider. We hope this guide will help you identify your best option.
Need moving assistance, or have any questions we didn’t answer? Want to share a creative short-term housing solution that worked for you? Leave us a comment below or call us at 800-413-4799. We’re happy to help!