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Rented furniture, a short-term solution

Chances are, if you need to find temporary housing, you may need to find furnishings and other necessities as well.

"People who can find an empty home can consider renting furniture," says Joyce Styne of Laffey Fine Homes in Greenvale, noting principal Philip Laffey provided agents with a quick list of rental companies after the storm.

The list includes Cort, a Berkshire Hathaway company with a showroom in Farmingdale; National Rental Services, which is headquartered in Riverhead; and Rent-A-Center, which is headquartered in Plano, Texas.

The phones at Cort have been ringing. "I can't even tell you how busy we are," says Cort showroom manager Maria Boscarino.

Angelo Tarantino, president of National Rental Services, says while his company has received inquiries, too, he thinks "people are still in shock mode."

With 10 stores on Long Island, Rent-A-Center has had just a slight uptick in rentals, says spokesman Xavier Dominicis. "We've seen a little more activity on bedroom sets and mattresses in western Nassau County and more gaming and electronics on the east side of the Island," says Dominicis. He surmises the gaming devices have been rented to entertain children who have been out of school.

Most rental companies offer just about any item you need or want, from furniture and linens to appliances and electronics.

Typically, long-term rentals are more cost efficient than short-term. Either way, it can quickly become a costly venture, especially for those still paying a mortgage.

Some homeowner's insurance policies will pay for rentals.

"Sometimes," says Boscarino, "we bill the insurance company. . . . It varies, as each situation is different."

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