MANAGING INTERN HOUSING FOR TODAY’S CORPORATIONS
© 2020 InterLink Relocation Resources. All Rights Reserved.
This is an informational guide regarding college/university intern housing, and the opportunities and decisions available for them. This overview of the process of intern housing is created for companies who currently work in-house to set up housing or provide their interns with a Lump Sum payment to have them get settled on their own. This is also useful information for incoming interns and their parents, so they know what to expect from the intern experience. Please bear in mind, this is not offered to corporations, interns, or their parents as any sort of official or legal document of any local, state, or federal statutes with regard to housing, or as an endorsement for any particular housing type and informational source.
Types of Housing
All cities have apartments to rent – even the smallest ones. Of course, housing options are more varied in the large cities, such as unfurnished apartments, hotels, sublets, extended stay hotels, and University-style housing (Dormitories).
Rental Relocation has been recognized as a reliable Intern Housing Management Provider since 1989. During our years of operation, we have discovered that furnished corporate apartments are a popular option with many HR and University Recruiting professionals because we handle everything from top-to-bottom. Each unit is reserved and prepared prior to the intern’s arrival, including the lease negotiations, security deposits and application fees, furniture and housewares set-up, and utility/internet activations. Interns do not have to worry about finding their own place, and corporate housing placement personnel save on extensive time and resources by outsourcing. Additionally, Intern Housing Program Management companies like RRI can avoid many inconveniences in the housing selection process, such as rental scams (which we will touch on later in this document).
Furnished Corporate Apartments
Corporate apartments come fully furnished, and all the utilities are connected prior to the intern’s arrival; they also allow for flexible lease terms – usually 30 days or longer. Corporate apartments are usually managed by a professional property management company that handles everything during an intern’s stay.
Unfurnished Apartment Rental
Finding a vacant apartment allows the intern the freedom to decide what kind of apartment he or she wants to have during the internship (i.e. sparse vs. abundant furnishings). When selecting this housing option, understand that the intern will be responsible for everything from securing the property and disassembling any rental furniture at the end of the internship. Another thing to keep in mind is that most apartment communities require certain qualifications to be met for the lease agreements, such as income, past rental history, and so forth. Despite these additional costs, allowing the intern to rent his or her apartment will offer the most freedom – including coming and going as he or she pleases.
Apartment sharing can be a good way to cut rental costs in bigger cities, such as NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and so forth, where living expenses can be extremely high. Interns should be careful and perform due diligence on learning about his or her roommates before moving in (i.e. knowing the day/night schedule of the other occupant(s), what they do for a living, where they attend school, etc.), to avoid a situation that is not suitable.
There are a few ways interns can look for a roommate situation, via word-of-mouth from other company interns searching for housing in the same area, or online through professional companies, such as roommates.com (Note: this is not an endorsement of that particular company, but rather, an example). Often, roommates create a contract of what responsibilities are to be delegated to which person; this is a good idea prior to finalizing intern housing, so there are no surprises during the internship
Another intern housing option involves subletting an apartment from a tenant – not necessarily the owner of the property – who vacates the unit for a few months or more. Assuming the responsibility of someone else’s lease and bills can be risky, especially if the intern is unaware of past-due amounts. There are also scam artists who will try to rent out properties that they do not own or manage, so yet again, the onus is on the intern to do his or her due diligence and make sure the person they are dealing with is legitimate – if you feel pressured to act quickly on a sublet, it might be a good idea to walk away and look for another place.
University-style Housing (Campus Dormitory)
Usually, University-style housing/dormitories can be an affordable option that requires a roommate situation with access to a shared bedroom and bathroom (sometimes with more than one person). Typically, your accommodations will include furniture, internet access, on-site laundry, and kitchen facilities. It is important to remember that university-style housing/dorms have rules that must be followed, such as Quiet Hours and curfews, and the intern would be required to abide by such housing rules.
Hotel stays are an option for interns, particularly in remote or rural areas where other kinds of housing are hard to come by, or too far away to be practical. Many hotels offer online discounts
Extended Stay Hotels
Extended Stay Hotels can provide interns with a furnished hotel room with an in-suite kitchen and on-site laundry rooms at a rate that can be considerably lower than regular hotel rooms. Interns looking for their own housing must again use due diligence about the selection of his/her Extended Stay Hotels, as there is usually no requirement to live there; knowing as much about the property and its residents is important.
Securing Preferred Housing
The following are tips for interns beginning their housing search:
Where to Start
Interns who are tasked with finding housing in a location that is unfamiliar to them can begin the process of securing their temporary accommodations by contacting the company manager to whom they will report. Ask for suggestions of local communities that are worth checking out, or for a list of where previous interns have found in their own housing searches. Chances are, the company contacts can provide worthwhile options, especially because they are familiar with the area.
In the housing industry, scam artists abound. Interns should become aware of certain warning signs that they are dealing with someone who is not legitimate. In some areas, interns choose to secure short-term accommodations in the city or town where the internship will take place, to get the lay of the land, and explore places before committing to one.
The United States Federal Trade Commission provides several recommendations that interns should be aware of as red flags for securing housing. Below are but a few examples; to see the full list, visit the FTC website: www.ftc.gov
- They ask for a holding fee, security deposit, or the first month’s rent before the meeting. Obviously, sending money to a stranger is not in anyone’s best interest, especially for a property or unit you have never seen. If there is a family member or friend of the intern who can set up a meeting and see the accommodation in person to make sure it is actually for rent, try that; make sure he or she is not pressured into handing over any money. Interns can also do due diligence by looking up the name of the person representing the dwelling – if he or she is not legit, there is probably someone on the internet talking about it. If the same advertisement for the dwelling is listed under a different name, be extremely wary.
- They ask for a money transfer. Today’s technology provides many ways to move money online; however, when dealing with an unseen piece of property, it’s never a good reason to hand over any money via bank or wire transfer, because there are no ways to get that money back if the transaction is not a legitimate one.
- The person renting the unit says they are out of town or out of the country but knows someone who will turn over keys. Most times, the words “lawyer” or “agent” are used as persons working on the renter’s behalf. Be skeptical; if you are not able to see the dwelling in person, or sign a lease and pay before doing so, walk away.
Become Educated On Tenant Rights
Interns should make sure to know their rights and what they are agreeing to BEFORE they sign a lease. Read everything before signing on the bottom line.
Intern safety should be the highest priority during an internship. Visiting neighborhoods before moving, if logistically possible, is a good idea for interns securing their own accommodations. The more an intern knows about his or her immediate surroundings, the better.
Turning On Utilities, Internet Access, and Cable
Before arriving at the assigned city or town, interns should go online to research which utility, internet and cable companies serve the address where they will be living. Prioritize what is necessary vs. what is wanted before buying any kind of package – they can be quite costly, and the terms might require payment beyond the length of the internship.
Interns should investigate where they can easily access public transportation ahead of arrival – especially if they will not have access to a vehicle. Other things to consider:
- Are most places (restaurants, shopping, work) within walking distance from the intern’s accommodations, or would a bike be necessary?
- Will the intern need a car – and if so, is there a charge for parking where he or she will work or live?
- Is car parking assigned and provided at no charge at either the temporary housing location or at work? Knowing this may impact the affordability of the intern’s choice of accommodations.
Interns should be able to find rental furniture nearby, if his or her apartment is unfurnished. A furnished apartment or room will likely be more costly, but it can also serve to reduce the expense of purchasing furniture and housewares.
What Interns Should Bring To The Housing Search
- Driver’s license or passport
- Social Security card
- Certified check or money orders – Some rentals will accept security deposits from personal checks, but not all of them; others request secured funds such as certified checks/money orders; and some will reserve intern accommodations from credit or debit cards – call ahead to know which methods are accepted
- Interns with questionable or no credit may be asked to bring references from creditors who can attest to timely payment histories; others may require a co-signer – be prepared for either scenario
- Interns should bring proof of internship income and/or proof of previous or ongoing salary (i.e. check stubs).
Other Helpful Tips For Interns:
- Be flexible with the kinds of accommodations you are willing to accept
- Interns should be realistic about what can and cannot be easily afforded
- Put together a list of references ahead of arrival from people with reputable positions (professors, previous employers, etc.), like the ones provided during the internship application process or any job hunt
- Do not be offended if a property manager or owner requires a guarantor or co-signer on the lease
- Check for any credit issues before applying for housing by getting a credit report on yourself – most banks offer this service
About Rental Relocation, Inc.
Rental Relocation has provided temporary housing for Interns, as well as Global Mobility and Business Travelers, and Government and Military entities, since 1989. Through our vast experience in the temp living sector, we developed an Intern Housing Management Program that provides comfort and convenience for the intern, organization, and expertise to corporations, and peace of mind to the intern’s parents.
The staff at RRI is well versed with extensive experience in finding the right “first impression” for companies. We are proficient at tackling a wide variety of complexities, such as a large intern group in one city, interns scattered across the country or rural community placement. Companies that work with Rental Relocation are always given a choice of properties from which to select the best fit for their interns.
Our priority is to find intern housing that will be comfortable, fully-furnished, stocked with everything for bathrooms and kitchens, clean, convenient, close to nearby shopping and restaurants, and most importantly, as near to the corporate workplace where the intern will be placed as possible. For the University Housing and/or Human Resources team, Rental Relocation negotiates pricing with the properties we offer, to secure accommodations affordably.
If you are interested in learning more about Rental Relocations and our Intern Housing Management Program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call to talk to one of our Temporary Housing Consultants at 844-737-0611. We look forward to hearing from you.