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Health Hazards and Safety in Midterm Rentals

Travel nursing is a thrilling career that offers numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. However, it comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is housing safety. This post will delve into the potential health hazards in rented properties, including fire safety, damp and mould, excess cold or heat, and hazardous materials like asbestos or lead-based paint.

Fire Safety

Fire safety is a critical concern in any home, and even more so for travel nurses who frequently move between different accommodations. Landlords are required to follow safety regulations, which include providing a smoke alarm on each storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance1. They must also ensure that all furniture and furnishings they supply are fire safe.

A fire extinguisher hanging on a teal-coloured wall.

Damp and Mould

Damp and mould are common problems in rented properties. Not only can they cause damage to the property, but they can also lead to health issues such as respiratory problems, allergies, and in severe cases, lung infections. It is important to check for signs of damp and mould before moving into a property.

Excess Cold or Heat

Living in a property that is too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer can pose significant health risks. During the colder months, excess cold can lead to a range of health problems, including respiratory conditions and hypothermia. It is crucial to ensure that your accommodation has adequate heating and insulation to keep you warm and safe.

On the other hand, during the warmer months, excess heat can result in dehydration and heat exhaustion. It is important to check that your accommodation has sufficient ventilation and cooling systems to help you stay comfortable and healthy.

Remember, as a travel nurse, you may find yourself moving between different climates and seasons. Always consider the seasonal weather conditions of your new location and ensure your temporary home is equipped to handle them. Stay informed, stay safe, and keep on travelling.

Hazardous Materials

The presence of hazardous materials like asbestos or lead-based paint is another potential health hazard. Asbestos was commonly used in building materials until the late 20th century and can cause serious lung diseases if disturbed. Lead-based paint, while banned in many countries, can still be found in older buildings and can cause a range of health problems if ingested or inhaled.

Consider the story of a travel nurse who rented an apartment only to discover that it was contaminated with lead-based paint. The landlord, unaware of the dangers or simply choosing to ignore them, failed to disclose this information. This left the nurse in a difficult situation, facing potential health risks and the challenge of seeking legal recourse.

In many places, landlords are legally required to disclose the presence of lead-based paint to tenants. However, enforcement can be inconsistent, and many tenants, like our travel nurse, find themselves dealing with the aftermath of undisclosed lead contamination. It is a complex issue that intertwines housing law, health regulations, and the unique circumstances of travel nursing.

A section of a painted house.

Moving Forward

So, what can travel nurses do to protect themselves? Firstly, awareness is key. Before signing a lease, ask about potential health hazards, especially if the building is older. Secondly, know your rights. Familiarise yourself with local laws regarding tenant safety. Lastly, consider seeking advice from fellow travel nurses who have navigated similar situations. Online communities, like the Travel Nursing subreddit, can be invaluable resources.


Travel nursing is a rewarding profession, but it is not without its challenges. By staying informed and proactive, travel nurses can ensure their temporary homes are safe, allowing them to focus on what they do best – providing exceptional care to those who need it most.

Remember, your safety is important, both at work and at home. Don’t let hidden dangers put your health at risk. Stay informed, stay safe, and keep on travelling.

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