Travelers: Here’s the Truth About Hidden Housing Fees

As a traveler, you’re often on the move. Chances are, each assignment takes you to a new town and that means a new place to call home.

Finding great housing can feel like a chore. No doubt, you’re on a budget trying to balance your salary, other living expenses, and housing costs. Working within your stipend can be a challenge. It’s even more difficult when you factor in all the hidden costs associated with temporary housing. Here are few tips from our experts to help you better understand the fees associated with your housing so you can get the most for your money.

As always, we encourage you to check your rental agreement carefully and read the fine print. Get your calculator out and see how these add up:

Security Deposit

It’s pretty typical to expect that a security deposit will be required to secure your space. However, landlords can vary greatly on how much they charge for the deposit. For example, one month’s rent is common to cover any damage, cleaning fees, or to help protect from non-payment. In some cases, agreements will require first and last month’s rent due at signing. Be sure you understand these costs as they can really amount to needing significant upfront cash.

Cleaning Fees

Are there any cleaning fees associate with your move out? This is usually a flat rate but there could be add-ons for specific conditions. For example, extra fees often apply when you have had a dog or cat on the premises. Look to see if these cleaning fees are automatically deducted from your security deposit or require a separate payment, sometimes to a third-party.


While in your new home, you’ll need water, electricity, gas (if used), garbage removal, cable, WIFI, etc. to live comfortably. Those costs can vary greatly. Will you need the air-conditioning regularly for a warmer climate? Is it a cold winter where you can expect higher heating costs? Self-discipline is one way to help control your heating and AC costs, simply keep your thermostat on a temperature that saves both energy and money. But other fees are fixed and you can’t really do anything about them. Be sure you understand what utilities are included (if any) as part of your rent. There may also be an “allowance” for variable costs like electricity. In this case, your rent includes electricity usage up to “X amount”, if you go over, you pay the difference.


Is there laundry in your living space? If so, you should add in some extra costs to run the washer and dryer. This usually comes in the form of higher electric usage, unless you have a gas dryer. Managing your laundry efficiently by doing full loads, hanging things to dry if possible, and washing in cool or cold water can help you save. If you have laundry in a common area or must go to a laundromat, be sure to add these extra charges into your budget. 

Pet Fees

Rent can often vary if you will have a pet living with you. This can be as a higher monthly rate for rent or increased security deposit or higher cleaning fees.

Mailbox Rental

Ask how you will receive your mail while staying in your new home. Will you need to rent a mailbox at the post office or other mail service provider? Is there a safe area to receive large packages? Each situation is unique and could result in some added expenses.

Parking Fees

Does your housing come with assigned parking? Is there a monthly fee for parking? If parking is not available and you will have a vehicle, be sure to shop around for options based not only on cost but also security and accessibility.


If you will be living without a vehicle then you won’t incur any parking fees. However, you might need to factor in public transpiration. If you don’t plan to walk or bike, try to estimate your costs for the bus, subway, train or ride share options.

Extra Insurance

Many experts will recommend that you get “Renter’s Insurance” while in temporary housing. This protects not only your belongings and valuables, but also provides insurance coverage should you inadvertently cause any damage to the property. Some leasing agreements will require this extra insurance at your expense. Talk to insurance providers to understand the minimum you need to satisfy the agreement as well as what makes sense based on the value of your personal belongings.

Additional Storage

Many housing opportunities will offer additional storage in the form of an optional garage or storage locker. There are also many retail options for renting a storage unit in various sizes—with or without climate control. If you can’t comfortably fit all of your things in your new living space, then you may need to take advantage of other storage options. These options will likely have added costs, and for public storage facilities, often require an insurance policy.

Background Check

It’s not uncommon for landlords to require a background check of potential tenants. The fees for these checks can vary depending on how comprehensive the landlord wants to be. The processing fees for these checks is most likely an expense passed on to the applicant.


Tax requirements vary by state. There are some cases where you can expect the landlord to pass on state taxes to the tenant. Read your agreement carefully and consult the local tax regulations for specifics.

Finding your next accommodations might seem like a daunting task. However, if you stay organized and learn what to look for in your options, we’re sure the perfect place to call home is just around the corner. Our team is always available to help with your next assignment. We can help you select a location that works well with your lifestyle and budget. Give us a call today at (844) 916-8773 or apply here to speak with a recruiter.