Travel Nurse Housing Safety, Security and Condition
Assessing travel nurse housing safety, security, and condition on arrival is crucial. Regardless if you’ve allowed the agency to arrange your travel nurse housing or if you’ve arranged it yourself, hopefully you’ve researched your housing thoroughly but here are some things to check for before you move in or meet the leasing agent.
Assess the safety and security of the apartment location, complex and surrounding area.
Take a drive around the surrounding area first then circle in towards the apartment. Assess the general location. Is the area clean? Landscaped? What type of vehicles are parked around? Are there cluttered balcony areas? Do all of the security gates (if the complex has them) work? Are there security lights in the parking areas?
Talk with your neighbors.
Find out if there are issues with parties, domestic disturbances, random people hanging out at odd hours? If there are people out walking around or sitting out, they will be likely to answer some questions for you. If there are issues, they will generally tell you.
If there are amenities included in the apartment complex, walk around and check them out. Is the pool clean and well maintained? Is the laundry area in good working order? Are the common areas clean and in good order?
I recommend that you look at the apartment as if you were paying for it. In reality, you are paying for your travel nurse housing, and it should be reflective of a place that you will feel comfortable living. If it’s not a place that you would choose to live in at home, why would you live there for a contract?
There are a few exceptions to the expectations in relation to housing. One that I have ran across is that of availability. There actually are places where there really isn’t any availability for travel nurse housing. For example, when I contracted in Scottsbluff, NE I was housed in a small basement apartment will ground level windows. It was dark, dingy and actually quite dirty. I spent about 2 weeks driving all over town, contacted every real estate agent available, and monitored the classified ads without any success. My company had told me that housing was limited and they were telling the truth. I ended up having to deal with the inadequate housing. Be mindful that inadequate should still not jeopardize the travel nurse housing safety and security.
Now that you are satisfied that travel nurse housing safety and security is appropriate, it’s time to meet the leasing agent. Introduce yourself including the company that you are working with. Your company should have provided you with a move-in checklist, insist that someone do a walk-through with you. During your walk-though make sure to write down anything that is damaged, broken or in poor condition. When your finished, ask for a copy and give the original to be placed with your lease.
Here are a few reminders of things to check
- Open all blinds and turn on all lights so you can see well.
- Condition of walls, carpet, tiles.
- Check all door locks and window locks for effectiveness.
- Toilet flushes well with no leaks around the base.
Cabinets in good condition. Don’t forget to check under the sinks for water damage or bugs.
- Closet/room doors in good working condition.
- Fire Extinguishers and locations (current tag).
- Thermostat AC/Heat/Fan working.
- Refrigerator condition, temperature, smell.
- Laundry room condition, number of washers/dryers, cost, distance from apartment.
- Do all of the provided appliances work?
A few items that you should also ask once you have decided to move in:
- Location of mailboxes (does your key work).
- Location of Trash.
- Pet Policies (if applicable)
- Ask about maintenance after hours contact information.
- Location of Parking, visitor parking, (covered or not, important in areas such as AZ).
- Hours of use for any community areas, laundry, pool, etc.
Travel Nurse Housing Safety, Security and Condition isn’t up to par: What to do?
Use your instincts and do not take residency in housing that obviously unacceptable other than problems that could be easily fixed. If there are issues that they are willing to fix, make an agreeable time and date items will be fixed. If you take residency you will lose leverage to get a different apartment.
You always have the right to refuse the apartment prior to move-in. If you choose to refuse the apartment, you should notify the leasing agent and your recruiter as soon as possible. Most companies will assist you in finding an acceptable apartment, but realize that they are going to try to do whatever it takes to get you to accept the original apartment. They have likely already paid deposits and 1st month rent which in some cases can be difficult for them to get back. I only recommend refusing an apartment if you truly feel unsafe or if the apartment has issues that are not able to be rectified. Try to work with your recruiter to find a reasonable solution.
Try to remember that your recruiter or housing person has only what information is available via internet or word of mouth to assess an apartment. You are the eyes that they don’t have. Be professional at all times and specific on the issues/reasons that you are refusing the accommodations.
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