Not all PCS orders are long term. In fact, some service members receive what we consider short-term orders that send them to a new duty station for a year or less.
We all like to think it’s best to stay together as a family, but if the kids are set up at school, the military spouse has a fantastic job, and the dog has neighborhood friends, then it may be easiest for the service member to head out alone.
This scenario usually unfolds when the short-term orders send the active duty spouse right back to the base they depart from. A drastic lifestyle change for the entire family sometimes isn’t worth the chaos and anxiety that short-term, or even long-term, separation can induce.
Other extenuating circumstances such as a house that is unable to sell or a local family member with medical problems in need of attention are also reasons a military member might make a short-term move on their own and become a geo-bachelor/bachelorette renter.
Whether it’s economical, logistical, or a combination of both, military members occupy short-term rentals frequently.
Are you a military member looking for a short-term rental? Here are three tips to help you begin.
1. Consider Different Types of Rental Properties
In-home room or apartment rental.
When you think about a person leasing a room or an apartment inside a house, the image of a young college kid pops into mind. You associate a rental room with a single person trying to save money.
But an in-home rental can also be a great option if you’re looking for a short-term. Since it’s just a room in the landlord’s house, the lease terms should be fairly simple. No need to worry yourself with yard maintenance or moving large items such as a washer/dryer, living room, and dining room furniture.
Homeowners who are renting space are usually looking for the clean, mature, and quiet type of tenant. As long as there are clear rules about shared kitchens, bathrooms, and communal living spaces, these arrangements work well.
Privatized housing companies on base can also provide rental options. The on base housing is great for short term renters because it not only provides the service member with a short commute, but it also includes utilities in the monthly rental payment--eliminating the headache of setting up and canceling services.
The option for single or roommate living is available at competitive prices. Since the renters are predominantly military, lease terms are usually 6, 9, or 12 months, with flexibility to extend after the term is up.
2. Decide if You Want a Roommate
In geobachelor situations, you’re often concerned about saving money because you’re likely paying for the household you left behind as well as the temporary home you’re moving into. It’s for this reason service members are faced with the option to split costs and live with a roommate.
This is a personal choice that takes careful consideration beyond just economic savings. Ask yourself these four questions before committing to a roommate.
- Does the space available accommodate two people and the military gear you’ll both need?
- How would you feel about a stranger as a roommate?
- Consider your stage in life. A 35-year-old dad might not hit it off with an 18-year-old right out of basic training. Are you willing to cross generations for a roommate?
- Can you trust the other person enough if you have to travel or deploy?
An honest and thorough conversation between roommates is important to set expectations of the living arrangement. Pets, overnight guests, and visitors are just a few topics that can become tense issues if not discussed upfront.
Your landlord should also be aware of your roommate arrangement. Lease terms are exceptionally important to negotiate-- particularly if one of you is leaving sooner than the other.
A twist on living with a roommate is living and/or renting from family members. Regardless of whether you’re paying rent or staying in someone else’s property for free, the potential for hurt feelings or disagreements is likely high.
However, be mindful of the risk associated with living with family. Family may feel that it is their right to know your comings and goings, and you might feel obligated to divulge information despite your desire not to. To avoid familial damage, everyone must be willing to be transparent. Each of you must sit down and set your expectations before you move in.
3. Search for Rentals on MilitaryByOwner
Just as you’d find with a single family home, in-home room and apartment listings can be found on MilitaryByOwner.
- Choose the appropriate state and base location needed.
- The MBO app will have a "Property Type" designation. Select "Room for Rent."
- If you’re using the full website, select "Property Type" and "Room for Rent" from the Advanced Search options.
Short term renting doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether your need for a temporary rental is economical or logistical, MilitaryByOwner is here to help with your transition.
Written by Dawn M. Smith, updated 2018 by Danielle Keech.