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A Complete Guide to Corporate Housing & Furnished Apartments

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A Complete Guide to Corporate Housing & Furnished Apartments

Are you relocating to a new city for work? Or gearing up for an extended business trip?

Then you may be headed for a stay in a corporate (or furnished) apartment.

You’re bound to have a number of questions, especially if you’ve never stayed in one before:

  • What can I expect in a corporate apartment?
  • What’s included in a furnished apartment?
  • What are the benefits of a corporate apartment vs. a hotel?

One thing to note before we dive in: most corporate apartments are nice and welcoming. We promise!

The truth is, the world is shrinking. Companies want top talent and are willing to compete to get them, regardless of whether they’re local.

That’s why relocation and corporate housing in quality, fully furnished apartments is becoming a major recruiting tool for top companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing, among others.

So here’s everything you need to know before you accept your relocation package or take off for your next extended work trip, along with a few tips on how to make your corporate apartment feel like a home away from home.

What Is Corporate Housing?

Corporate housing often refers to a fully furnished apartment, condominium, or house that can be leased on a temporary basis. Unlike regular apartments that typically operate on year-long leases, corporate apartments often have a minimum stay of 30 days and a daily rate that can be extended for as long as need be.

These corporate furnished apartments are typically inhabited by business travelers (think employees working on-site for a client), or new hires and transferees working to secure permanent housing in their new city. Finding an apartment or new home can take months. Corporate apartments are move-in ready on short notice.

But company employees aren’t the only ones who can benefit from corporate housing. Furnished apartments are also a great fit for some long-term vacationers, interns, and even displaced homeowners.

What Does a Corporate Apartment Include?

Perhaps the biggest selling point of corporate housing is that its units typically come fully furnished. That means you can move in and proceed with your daily routine with little interruption, something that can’t be said about living out of a suitcase in a hotel.

Standard corporate apartments usually include:

  • Furniture – Sofas, tables, etc.
  • A full kitchen – A refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave & more
  • Linens – Pillows, sheets, comforters, towels, etc.
  • Housewares – Silverware, dishes, and cookware
  • Utilities – Washer and dryer, basic cable and Internet service

Premiere corporate housing may even include extras like large, flat screen TVs, coffee makers, premium cable, and access to resident amenities (gym, pool, business center, etc.).

Corporate Housing Costs & Billing

For most corporate transfers or travelers, the company will pay for 100% of temporary housing. Your company may have a Local Mobility or Relocation department that handles all payments, or you may be issued a company credit card to settle your bill each month.

Generally, corporate housing costs less than a hotel. After all, it comes with almost everything you need right out of the box!

The good news is you’re unlikely to run into any hidden fees or extras while staying in a corporate apartment. Your rent often includes:

  • Utilities
  • Telephone service
  • Basic cable & Internet
  • Washer/dryer

In some cases, when relocating to a new city for work, you’ll be offered a comprehensive relocation package that covers the cost of temporary housing among others. If you find yourself in this scenario, your corporate relocation package will usually outline items like:

  • Lump sum allowance: The allowance may be designed to cover all main costs of relocation; in which case, the responsibility may fall to you to find, budget, and pay for temporary housing. Often these funds are reported as compensation and are subject to standard tax deductions.
  • Home finding assistance: Some packages budget funds for home finding trips to your new city. Be sure to get clarification on how many trips are allowed and the appropriate length of each trip. This section should also indicate whether the company will contribute to temporary housing and per diem, marketing and sale of your old home, and other related items.
  • Moving costs: Who is responsible for the packing and shipping costs of moving your belongings? Will the company pay for your travel, lodging, and meals on the way to your new location?
  • Miscellaneous expenses: Get as much detail as you can about what will be covered/reimbursed, and what won’t. Leave no stone unturned!

You can create a customized sample corporate relocation policy here to generate ideas and questions you may want to ask your company’s Relocation department.

Corporate Housing & Taxes

Many corporate employees find themselves wondering: Are funds related to my corporate apartment taxable or tax deductible?

The short answer is, it depends on your specific arrangement with your company. Generally, any reimbursements your company provides you for a temporary work trip are not taxable. However, any allowance or additional compensation paid out to you to cover permanent relocation costs is taxable, just like your salary.

An important note: If you and your employer decide to extend a temporary work trip to a duration over one year in length, any additional temporary housing compensation becomes permanent and taxable from the point in time the extension decision was made.

Why Corporate Housing Beats the Alternatives

Not sure if a corporate apartment is the right fit for you?

The primary alternative to furnished apartments is an extended stay hotel. These hotels offer competitive daily rates, basic amenities, and are designed for long-term visitors. However, many guests complain about the low quality of the rooms and grounds, as the maintenance and management of extended stay hotels often aren’t up to corporate standards.

AirBNB is another option gaining traction with business travelers. With AirBNB, you can rent private residences directly from the owner, including furnished apartments and condos. Some corporate travelers, however, have difficulty booking long term stays through AirBNB and find the amenities found in corporate housing are unmatched by private rentals.

Final Tips

Being away from your home for a long period of time can be incredibly stressful. Whether it’s a long-term business trip or a permanent relocation, your comfort is a top priority.

The bottom line? Your corporate apartment is meant to feel like home. That’s why it comes with ceramic dishes, a working kitchen, and in-unit laundry. Use these amenities to try to emulate your normal routine as much as possible.

If feasible, try bringing some signature items from your home along with you; including pictures of family, your favorite pillow, or house plant.

And finally, if you’d like to learn more about how you can find a fully furnished apartment that suits your needs and truly feels like home, start here.