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Beware of Travel Nursing Housing Scams

  • Understand the definition of travel nursing housing scams
  • Examine the types of housing available for travel nurses
  • Identify how travel nurses can avoid housing scams
Tracey Long



You’re excited to become a travel nurse and live your best self. You’re ready to pack your bags, and you’ve looked up the hospital in the new city where you’ll be assigned. You’ve already looked up local restaurants and things to do in your new community. However, you heard about travel nursing housing scams.


In your opinion, who would scam a nurse? Unfortunately, plenty of unscrupulous people do scam nurses. So, nurses beware.

travel nursing housing scams reality check for a woman on her laptop

What is a Housing Scam?


Firstly, travel nursing housing scams targeting travel nurses have unfortunately become all too frequent.  Criminals exploit individuals temporarily moving for work to take advantage of vulnerable individuals, such as travel nurses in search of short-term accommodations. Because of the short-term time period of a work assignment, travel nurses face additional hurdles than other workers in finding suitable short-term lodging solutions.


Scammers prey upon this vulnerability by targeting travel nurses specifically when looking for short-term rental units. A housing scam is a dishonest, illegal activity between someone who allegedly has housing to offer for a short-term rental but does not fulfill the contract such as not delivering adequate housing as advertised while still taking the payor’s money.


A potential tenant often has to pay a security deposit and often the first month’s rent to secure the housing. By the time a travel nurse arrives, the housing may not exist, already be taken by someone else, or in a different location than what was advertised.


Not only is this unethical, but hugely inconvenient for a travel nurse who needs to get settled before the work assignment begins. Your new employer won’t care where you live. They just care that you show up and complete your work competently.


Common scams include the creation of fake listings for rental properties, with scammers requesting upfront payments and disappearing once the funds are transferred. Some scammers pose as overseas landlords, claiming an inability to show the property in person, while others employ phishing tactics through emails or fake websites to extract personal information or payment details. Additionally, scams may involve offers that seem too good to be true, such as unrealistically low rental prices.

money and housing

What Housing Is Available for Travel Nurses?


First, it is important to know is that finding housing for your work assignment is done with two main options. One option is the responsibility of the travel nurse to find and secure the housing, and the second option is that the travel agency may take on this task. It is important to do your research to avoid travel nursing housing scams.


Travel agencies may offer you an additional housing stipend, which you can keep if you make the arrangements yourself. On the other hand, the travel agency could retain the stipend, and they will coordinate the housing. Either way, the travel nurse should be prepared to ask a lot of questions about the safety and security of the housing.


Travel nurses have many options for housing, which includes the following:


  1. Furnished Apartments

Advantages: The apartment or home is fully furnished, and you don’t have to worry about choosing furnishings and necessities, like an iron. You are still responsible for your own personal belongings, food, clothing, and hygiene products of course.

Disadvantages: You may not like the style of the furnishings.

Tip: You should always take pictures of the property when you first move in to document the condition of the property.


  1. Extended Stay Hotels

Advantages: Corporate housing is used to business professionals, and the longer stay hotels include many common hotel amenities, such as a pool, patio space, or gym.

Disadvantages: Rooms may not be bigger than a common hotel room and often do not include a front or back yard like a house.

Tip: Some extended stay companies include Candlewood Suites, Extended Stay America, and TownePlace Suites.


  1. Vacation Rentals

Advantages: They are often owned by private families that allow for more flexible pricing. You often get the entire home/apartment including yards and even a pool.

Disadvantages: Depending on the city and time of year, the price varies. There is an interesting attitude from some vacation rental owners that the nurse is the one doing the scamming if they don’t leave it in good condition. You need to pay a cleaning fee in addition to the security deposit.

Tip: Some platforms to find vacation rentals include Airbnb, VRBO, and Furnished Finder.


  1. Hospital Housing

Advantages: It is generally close to the work assignment facility.

Disadvantages: They may deduct your hours worked for the price of housing, making the contract less profitable than it originally appeared.


  1. RV or Camper

Advantages: You own the camper/RV and can bring everything you want with you, including family members and pets. Travel nurses who travel with RVs love the freedom.

Disadvantages: Maintenance, gas, and repairs are your responsibility. You have to research where you are allowed to park in each new location. You’ll still need your own vehicle apart from the RV to commute around town.


  1. Housing Stipend

Advantages: Firstly, the travel agency company controls the housing stipend. If the agency coordinates the housing, it is their responsibility to avoid scams and provide you with safe housing. You don’t have to worry about finding housing.

Disadvantages: If you take the stipend you need to budget accordingly and beware of housing scams. Also, thhe agency is not responsible if you coordinate the housing and land in a housing scam. You don’t get a say in where they assign you to live.


  1. Hostel or Guesthouse

Advantages: The price can be cheaper. You are often with other people your same age, which tends to be younger people.

Disadvantages: There are shared utilities including bathrooms. Your personal belongings are often not as secured in shared settings.


  1. Staying with Family and Friends

Advantages: Family can be great, and the rent may be less expensive and even free.

Disadvantages: Family can be challenging and have unexpected expectations or responsibilities. Either way, consider having a formal contract even with family to establish the rules of conduct and clarify expectations.


  1. House Sitting

Advantages: You may be paid to take care of a home in someone’s absence or just get free rent.

Disadvantages: Make sure you have a clear contract of expectations. It is also recommended to take photos of the property when you arrive.

Tip: Some reputable house-sitting platforms include HouseCarers and House Sitters America.

a sad nurse on her phone

How Can I Avoid Travel Nursing Housing Scams?

To safeguard against housing scams, travel nurses should work with reputable agencies. In addition, nurses can visit properties in person or request virtual tours, verify landlords’ identities, use secure payment methods, and trust their instincts. By staying vigilant and taking these precautions, travel nurses can mitigate the risk of falling victim to travel nursing housing scams. Below are a few strategies for travel nurses looking to steer clear of scams:


  1. Use Reputable Agencies.

Choose travel nursing agencies which boast strong reputations when looking for temporary accommodations.


  1. Verify Listings’ Legitimacy.

Moreover, be wary of listings that seem too good to be true in terms of prices or amenities or if anything seems suspiciously priced or lacking amenities. Scammers use alluring offers to lure victims in. Furthermore, be aware if the spelling of within the ad is incorrect or poorly written English.


  1. Cross-reference a property’s details.

Additionally, verify this property’s details and photos across multiple reputable housing websites to assure its credibility. Avoid wire transfers or cash payments without first verifying its legitimacy. Legitimate landlords and agencies typically employ secure payment methods.


  1. Read Reviews and Ratings.

Before renting or leasing from any landlord or agency online, research their reputation through reviews from past tenants online. Check for reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google, or housing review websites specialized for housing reviews. An absence or many negative reviews could be telltale signs.


  1. Request a Virtual Tour.

For maximum transparency, ask the agent or landlord for a virtual tour either via video calls or recorded videos of your potential property. Legitimate landlords or agencies should offer this to prospective renters who take rental housing seriously. When possible, visit the property in person before signing the contract.


  1. Verify Existence and Condition of the Property.

Confirm its existence and condition through inspections, while making sure there is an explicit lease or agreement in writing that defines terms and conditions clearly. Be wary of landlords or agencies that do not offer formal contracts. Before entering into any agreement with a potential landlord or agency, make sure they can be trusted. Verify this data through public records if possible.


  1. Beware of Legitimate Listings.

When searching online for housing opportunities, ensure your platform of choice offers secure and reputable platforms. Avoid responding to unsolicited emails and messages. Don’t continue if they request a private message. Demand transparency.


Be wary of an owner who claims to be out of town all the time but requests you to pay up front without a contract or virtual meeting. Use a secure platform when searching for housing online.

  1. Trust Your Instincts.

If something seems off or the process seems rushed, trust your intuition, and investigate further. Scammers use time pressure as a tactic for manipulating their victims. They claim they can only offer the great price for a limited time.

  1. Get referrals from other travel nurses.

There is a good network among travel nurses who all have opinions on the location they have already worked in. Join social groups to network with other travel nurses, but don’t sign a contract on a social platform. Ask to contact a previous tenant for a referral.


Some travel nurse associations to network with include the American Travel Health Nursing Association and TravCon.


  1. Due your due diligence.

Finally, read the reviews, look at pictures, use a credit card and not cash. Don’t use Venmo or Zillow, as they won’t insure your payment for a fraudulent charge. Demand a written contract. Read the fine print.

woman reading and looking at a tablet

The Bottom Line


Overall, by taking precautions, you can greatly decrease your risk of travel nursing housing scams. You have much better things to do in your new community instead of fighting against a housing scam. Be wise. Live better!