How to Rent to Traveling Nurses: A Niche Rental Market

Have you considered getting in on the high-demand travel nurse rental market? We'll show you its money making potential and why it should be on your radar. Discover how to rent to traveling nurses successfully by focusing on key ingredients like amenities, lease terms, and pricing strategies.

By
Nichole Stohler
|
Last Updated
January 5, 2024
How to Rent to Traveling Nurses: A Niche Rental Market

As demand for healthcare services is expected to surge over 8% annually through 2030, more travel nurses are needed to fill staffing gaps. This growing reliance on travel nurse workforces fuels expansion in the niche housing market catering to them.

That growth represents huge potential for property owners. However, it's important to consider whether housing travel nurses is the right rental move for your assets, and inform yourself about what steps you'd need to take to convert your units to capture this lucrative opportunity.

Before you list your property with the intent of marketing to these medical professionals, equip yourself with the expert insights in this guide. We'll cover everything from the pros and cons to required amenities and listing best practices.

By the end, you’ll have the information you need to leverage travel nursing demand growth and maximize both occupancy and income. Consider this your playbook for capitalizing on the high-growth travel nursing rental market.

What is a travel nurse?

Travel nurses are registered nurses contracted to work temporary stints in healthcare facilities facing staff shortages. They help provide patient care when permanent nursing pools are stretched thin. Their assignments typically last from several weeks to over a year.

Staffing flexibility allows healthcare institutions to utilize travel nurses to meet patient demands during recruitment challenges, high turnover, or expanding capacity needs. Nursing employment, including travel nurse jobs, is forecast to grow 6% yearly through 2032.

Key drivers of travel nurse demand are an aging population and accelerating nurse retirements. With 16.8% of US adults now over 65 and utilizing increased healthcare services, facilities require supplementary staff. Meanwhile, retirement rates are outpacing the entry of new nurse graduates. This growing imbalance creates nurse staffing shortages that travel nurses help fill.

Advantages of renting to traveling nurses

If you're considering housing for travel healthcare professionals, your first question might be: What are the benefits for my business? Let's explore a few of the unique upsides here.

Higher rents

Renting to travel nurses can significantly increase your rental income. Travel nurses receive generous housing stipends from employers to cover accommodations for their short-term assignments. These stipends usually exceed standard rental rates, allowing property owners to charge premium prices.

Flexibility

Travel nurses need flexible housing for short contracts, and landlords can benefit by offering short leases to match. This provides reliable income between the typical short term rentals, and freedom to upgrade or sell properties in between occupants.

Tax benefits

Just like long term rentals, renting to traveling nurses can also have potential tax advantages for landlords. Depending on local laws and regulations, landlords may be qualified to claim tax deductions for expenses related to renting their property to travel nurses.

These deductions can include property depreciation, maintenance costs, utilities, property management fees, and even depreciation of furniture or appliances provided for the rental.

Disadvantages of renting to traveling nurses

Providing travel nurse housing does have a few disadvantages when compared to a long term rental property. Here are some considerations before you make a decision on your rental unit:

Increased turnover

Due to the nature of their work, traveling nurses often move from one assignment to another, resulting in a more frequent turnover of tenants.

This can require landlords to invest additional time and effort into finding new tenants, conducting screenings, and preparing the property for each new occupant. It also means more administrative tasks, such as lease renewals and move-in and move-out inspections.

Unpredictable contracts

Traveling nurses often have unpredictable contract durations. They typically last around 13 weeks but can vary, meaning that the length of their stay may not align with your desired rental schedule.

Landlords need to prepare for potential gaps in occupancy between tenants and make time to find new tenants more frequently.

Make your property attractive to travel nurses

If you decide to rent to the traveling nurse population, one of the first things you'll need to do is make adjustments in the property and how you manage the rental. Here is what travel nurses typically expect:

1. Cancellation of contract options

Travel nurses occasionally face contract cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances, such as changes in assignments or personal emergencies. Being understanding and flexible in these situations can set you apart from other landlords.

Offering provisions in the rental agreement that allow for early termination or subletting can make your property more desirable for travel nurses who value flexibility.

2. Duration of stay

Travel nurses typically sign short-term leases. Offering flexible lease terms that align with their assignment durations can make your property more appealing.

3. Competitive price

To attract travel nurses, your rental rate should match other listings in your area. Do some research to see the going prices and amenities that your competitors provide. If your unit offers more amenities or better features, you may be able to charge a higher price.

However, be sure to keep your rates aligned with comparable local rentals. Price competitively based on size, condition, and perks offered. An appealing, fair price makes it easier to stand out to a travel nurse searching within their housing stipend budget.

Attractive amenities for travel nurses

Speaking of amenities, what specific features do travel nurses prioritize most when evaluating rental properties? As transient tenants, there are a few key perks they look for:

  • Fully furnished unit: Offering fully furnished units is a fundamental requirement for travel nurses. It saves them the hassle and expense of purchasing and moving furniture during their short-term stay. Make sure that your property has all the furnishings that temporary renters need, such as a comfortable bed, sofa, dining table, linens, and kitchen appliances.
  • Washer and dryer: An in-unit washer and dryer setup is highly desirable for travel nurses. It eliminates the need to find and use off-site laundromats, making their daily routines more convenient. Having this amenity in your furnished unit makes it easy for travel nurses to manage their laundry needs within the comfort of their own temporary homes.
  • Blackout curtains: Travel nurses often work long shifts and may require quality sleep during the day. Installing blackout curtains in the bedrooms can create a dark and peaceful environment, allowing travel nurses to rest and recharge without disruptions from the sunlight.
  • Storage: Travel nurses who may have personal belongings and supplies related to their work need ample storage space. Consider providing sufficient closet space, cabinets, and shelves to accommodate their storage needs. Having organized storage options helps travel nurses feel more comfortable and settled in their temporary living space.
  • Security systems: Security and safety are top priorities for travel nurses when choosing accommodations. Installing security systems, such as alarm systems or surveillance cameras, can provide an added layer of safety and peace of mind. Highlighting the presence of these security measures on your property can enhance its appeal to travel nurses.
  • Pet friendly: Many travel nurses have pets they consider part of their family. Having a pet-friendly unit can significantly broaden your potential tenant pool. Communicate any pet policies, such as breed restrictions or additional fees, to have a smooth and pet-friendly experience for both travel nurses and their furry companions.
  • Utilities included: Your rental price should include all utilities (electricity, water, gas) since tenants may not want to set up these services for a brief stay.
  • High-speed WiFi: Reliable and fast internet access is key — not just for personal use but also for any work-related research or communication travel nurses might need to do from home.
  • Optional cleaning services: Providing an option for cleaning services, either included in the rent or available for an additional fee, can be a significant bonus, especially for busy professionals.

Where to list your property

When you're ready to list your property to travel nurses, there are several options available to help you find suitable tenants:

Travel nurse housing niche sites

These specialized websites and marketplaces focus on connecting property owners with travel healthcare professionals:

  • Furnished Finder: This online platform offers furnished housing options for traveling healthcare professionals, featuring apartments, houses, and extended stay hotels.
  • TravelNurseHousing.com: This is a specialized marketplace connecting traveling nurses with a variety of short-term, furnished rental properties near their work locations.

These platforms either charge a fee to list your property or have booking fees when a tenant chooses your property. The fees can be worth it for the opportunities to increase booking opportunities and access platform features that make it easier for property owners and potential tenants to connect.

Take note: the lease agreement is typically handled separately, outside of these platforms.

Airbnb and VRBO

Popular general short-term rental housing marketplaces like Airbnb and VRBO can also be effective options for renting to travel nurses. Although these platforms are generally associated with short-term rental vacationers, in reality, they offer options for a broad range of potential guests, including travel nurses.

To cater specifically to travel nurses, consider setting a longer minimum stay requirement. Additionally, research the costs for using these sites, as each marketplace has its own policies and fees for cancellations and bookings.

Travel nursing companies

Some travel nursing companies offer housing assistance to their employees. This may come in the form of corporate housing coordinators or dedicated departments that help travel nurses find suitable accommodations during their assignments.

Contacting these companies to list your property can be an effective way to reach travel nurses directly as opposed to using a listing platform.

Make sure that your property meets their requirements and discuss any contractual arrangements for the lease agreement.

Facebook

Facebook has become a popular platform and marketplace for connecting people with various needs, including housing.

There are several Facebook groups dedicated to travel nurse housing. You can join these groups, post your property listing, and connect with potential renters.

One challenge with Facebook is that new posts may quickly push your listing down. It's important to actively manage your listing and engage with interested nurses promptly.

Demand for travel nurses

Travel nursing assignments may not be available in every city. Here are some methods to determine demand in your local market for travel nurse rentals:

  • Research local healthcare facilities: Investigate the number and size of hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities in your city. More facilities usually mean a higher demand for traveling nurses.
  • Contact healthcare facilities: Reach out to human resources departments at local hospitals and clinics to ask if they use traveling nurses.
  • Networking: Connect with staffing agencies specializing in healthcare to understand their needs and the frequency with which they place traveling nurses in your area.
  • Market analysis: Look for existing rental listings targeting traveling nurses in your area to evaluate competition and demand.
  • Consult with real estate professionals: Talk to local real estate agents who might have insights into the rental market for traveling nurses.
  • Attend industry events: Attend healthcare and real estate industry events to network and learn more about the current demand.
  • Analyze local trends: Stay updated on local healthcare trends, like expansions of hospitals or new healthcare facilities opening, which could increase demand for traveling nurses.

How to screen a travel nurse

Screening travel nurses is key to finding responsible, reliable tenants. So, what does an effective screening process look like?

  1. Application: Have prospective tenants fill out an online rental application form.
  1. Credit check: Perform a credit check to assess their financial reliability.
  2. Background check: Conduct a background check for criminal history.
  3. Income verification: Verify their income, typically through pay stubs or bank statements.
  4. Rental history: Review previous rental history and contact past landlords. Look for red flags, such as late payments or past evictions.
  5. Interview: Conduct an interview to assess compatibility and clarify expectations.

Having a defined screening process increases your success in finding a reliable and responsible travel nurse tenant for your property.

Rental property business tips

If you're planning to host nurses or other traveling healthcare professionals, here are some of our top business tips for managing rentals:

  • Tax saving techniques: Explore strategies for saving on taxes that can benefit you as a property owner. For example, the IRS Augusta rule allows homeowners to rent their property for up to 14 days without having to report the income. Consult with a professional CPA or advisor to provide guidance on how to maximize your tax benefits.
  • Accounting: Maintain accurate and organized bookkeeping records for your rental property. This includes keeping track of rental income, expenses, and any repairs or maintenance costs. Utilize accounting software or spreadsheets to simplify your bookkeeping process.
  • Rental agreements: Create clear and comprehensive rental agreements that outline the terms and conditions of the lease. Include details such as rental rates, lease duration, payment terms, and any rules or restrictions. This document will serve as a reference for both you and your tenants.
  • Insurance: Be sure to add the appropriate insurance coverage for your rental property. Consult with an insurance provider to determine the best type of coverage for your unique needs. Landlord insurance can protect you against potential liabilities and damages to your property.
  • Digital tools: Utilize the benefits of digital tools and platforms specifically designed for property owners and hosts. These tools can help with tasks such as managing bookings, communicating with renters, and handling financial transactions. Examples include property management software, online rental platforms, and online rent payment systems.

Rent to travel nurses with ease

Renting to traveling nurses can benefit both parties, offering a reliable income stream for landlords while providing housing solutions for these healthcare professionals.

As demand for travel nurses accelerates, tapping into this niche rental market offers property owners high income and occupancy potential. Weighing the pros and cons outlined here helps determine if this strategy aligns to your goals.

If you decide to leverage your property for this market, using our tips can pave the way for success — knowing how to rent a room to traveling nurses, or an entire rental unit, can help make sure your rental gets scooped up quickly. Making rental properties stand out requires emphasizing key furnishings, amenities and flexible lease terms that attract traveling medical tenants. Additionally, pricing your rental property competitively convinces travel nurses to choose your unit.

Yes, catering to a demographic that has increased tenant turnover requires extra effort. However, higher rental income and reliable tenants offset the workload. With healthcare needs and staffing shortages no signs of slowing down, you can expect ongoing growth in travel nurse rentals.

How to rent to travel nurses FAQs

Are there any legal considerations or specific lease terms I should be aware of when renting to traveling nurses?

Yes, consider short-term lease agreements, compliance with local zoning laws for short-term rentals, and be sure to have a solid understanding of fair housing laws.

How can I have a smooth turnover between traveling nurse tenants?

Plan for efficient cleaning and maintenance processes between tenants. Use a checklist to make sure that any wear and tear is promptly addressed and get ready for the next tenant.

What types of leases work best for traveling nurse tenants?

Traveling nurses often prefer short-term leases, month-to-month agreements, or flexible terms rather than long-term rentals. This accommodates their assignment durations and provides them with the flexibility they need.

Nichole Stohler

Nichole co-founded Gateway Private Equity Group, with a history of investments in single-family and multi-family properties, and now a specialization in hotel real estate investments. She is also the creator of NicsGuide.com, a blog dedicated to real estate investing.

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