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The Low Down on Temporary Living Expenses

Temporary living can be a doozy of a line item in a relocation budget.

Employers, capped-budget transferees, and even those who really do care how much their move costs their company (yes, some really do!) can find themselves sticker shocked from temporary living totals. Occasionally, we are confronted for overcharging for temporary living arrangements we have made. The reality, however, is that temporary living charges are directly passed through to our clients with no markup.  Here’s what’s happening.

A transferee will call stating something like;:

 “I just found an apartment in the same building for $750.  Why are you charging the company $3,000 a month?” 

This question gets right at the heart of the confusion.  But, in this case, the transferee is comparing apples to oranges. There are many factors that go into one month of temporary living verses an apartment for rent:

Terms:  Temporary living often comes in increments of 30 days, whereas a regular apartment lease usually has a minimum period of one year.  The longer lease terms helps ensure that landlords will receive continual income throughout the year as well as less wear and tear from revolving tenants. The apartment complex is not willing to rent out month to month, therefore, a temporary living company must sign a year lease and hope they can recoup that cost with enough tenants throughout the course of the year.

Furnishings:  Regular apartments are bare shells that a tenant must furnish with furniture, linens, window treatments, appliances, pots and pans and every other creature comfort.  In a temporary living situation, the provider must furnish all these things and keep them in new, or like new ,condition for each monthly tenant.

Utilities: Think of all the arrangements and expense associated with getting power, cable and internet set up in an apartment.  With temporary housing, the set up and, in many cases, all or part of the charges are inclusive in the cost.  Additionally, if you are only staying for a month or two, setting up these services as a traditional renter would be even more costly.

Service: What happens if something goes wrong with your refrigerator or other appliance in the night or weekend?  In a traditional apartment lease, if these are your items you are on your own.  For most cases in temporary living, a reputable agency will provide 24/7 assistance and, if the fix is possible and economically feasible, they will move forward with the solution.

Off the beaten path: Temporary living companies want to increase the probability of full occupancy.  Therefore, if you are looking for short term housing in a remote area they are less likely to be helpful. Although, if you do anticipate regular needs in certain areas, providers may secure options if they asses it will be worth their while.

Large Families: Most employers encourage employees to use temporary quarters suitable for one or two people until their family can reunite in their future permanent residence.  Accommodating a family of four or more is very difficult without using additional resources, such as property management or real estate agencies.

Pets: While many temporary living locations will not allow pets, those that do will often place size, breed and a number restrictions on the property.

Length of lease:  Sometimes temporary living is not so temporary.  When you know up front that accommodations are needed beyond the typical 1-3 months, you should weight the cost of using a temporary agency firm or just managing the lease, furnishings and utilities yourself (or through your relocation provider).

A few of notes of caution:

1. Not all providers are the same.  Temporary living providers should be chosen based on the cost, quality and amenities that best meet the company’s culture.

2. When reaching out to multiple vendors in a search, you may find duplicates between the various vendors, each with a different rate.  In some instances, when a provider does not have a viable option of their own, they will sublet a unit from another provider and tack a fee on top.

3. Rates have increased in many areas over the past year.  Price is a function of supply and demand.  With more people renting than in years past, lease rates have gone up all around.

Ultimately, when you are budgeting for relocation, temporary living is an expensive, albeit a necessary, evil. However, if you think you are overspending or being taken advantage of, be sure to have a conversation with your relocation partner. It’s always a good idea to regularly check in on line items and temporary living costs can swell from a number of reasons ranging from overprice suppliers and tack on fees to an overly generous policy

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VP, Client Services

VP of Business Development Northeast Region


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