EXPERT HOUSE SITTING RULES
This is our guide to expert house sitting rules that should be adhered to. To begin, below are our cardinal house sitting rules.
1 – Cherish the animals.
2 – Care for the property like it is your own.
3- Clean and protect the car if you are given access to the vehicle.
4 – If I break it, I fix it or replace it.
5 – If I can help, I say yes.
6 – However I find the property, I always leave it cleaner than before.
7 – If I use it, I replace it (though some owners specify that you “eat” or “use up” items).
8 – I communicate clearly and regularly with the house-owner.
Of all the expert house sitting rules, any house sitting guide will tell you that the house sitting community works on the currency of trust, and without that key ingredient none of it would be possible. Trust is more easily exchanged in smaller communities – at least that’s our perception – so the growth spurt of house sitting in the past few years has put that circle of trust to the test.
More people = more diversity = more potentially unchartered waters = potentially more problems.
Making arrangements between house sitting partners is more formalised, more competitive, and much larger in scale these days. And perhaps it needs to be because some house sitting sites have thousands of listings, and tens of thousands of potential sitters searching on them. Other house sitting sites are smaller and more carefully managed. Regardless, with all the options available getting a new housesit nowadays can feel like applying for a job – you need references of course, experience and the right collaborative approach. Advertising a housesit can also feel like a long screening process to vet candidates.
We enter into our house – sitting agreements, with or without a house sitter’s guide, with the friendliest of intentions, but these are essentially business agreements that have to do with one party caring for the property of another, and the caretaker being given accommodation, and to be protected from harm in return.
In the excitement of the acceptance of a new housesit, too often we make the mistake of asking for nothing in writing for our short term and even long term house sits thinking that we can resolve any outstanding issues through virtual communications as we go.
- It is important to remember that if the owners are away or out of the country they may not be easily contactable.
AGREEMENTS AND CHALLENGES
We don’t like to think of house sitting in adversarial terms, and very rarely do circumstances arise to pit house owner against house sitter.
Not all house owners are the same.
- What happens if the house sitter is injured while doing work requested by the owner?
- What happens if costs to be covered by the house sitter, skyrocket into something outside the original scope of the agreement?
- What happens if there is dishonesty or negligence by one of the parties involved?
If things go unexpectedly awry, it is best to have discussed likely eventualities then both parties are prepared for how to handle the situation.
A house sitter I know, recently had to quit a housesit when they realised that the property owners had misrepresented in photos the glamour of the property – it was neglected, sparsely furnished and with few working appliances”. It was not at all like the advertisement on the house sitting site that showed old photographs with manicured spaces in an idyllic setting. When they discovered live electric cables strewn about on the rooftop in puddles of water, the “greatest view in the world” began to lose its’ charm. They decided to approach the house sitting company to report the situation.
UNDERSTAND PAYMENT OF BILLS
Prepare a house sitting agreement it is the best way to build trust and understanding. There are times when the house-sitter must think ahead and be prepared. And the best preparation would be clear documentation such as a house-sitting agreement prepared together with the owner before they depart, outlining the agreed responsibilities of each party, anticipating any potential difficulties that might arise. Discuss and plan for the ‘what ifs’.
Being a house sitter is a very rewarding experience, but it’s important to cover ourselves, and avoid a “my word against their word” scenario. If we accept the responsibility of a house-sit, so too, we should think about the necessary written agreement, so that everyone is in the clear. If the property owner doesn’t have one, then be prepared to write it yourself.
Of course, it’s impossible to anticipate all the circumstances that can happen in a house sit, so trust and communication are still the key ingredients of a successful house sit, but it’s also good to manage expectations, and accept our house-sitting assignments with an appropriate degree of caution. We want to walk in with our eyes open, and have a much smoother experience.
The HouseSitMatch house sitting network provides all registered members with house sitting agreements to help you prepare as well as possible for your house sitting arrangement. The agreements are especially prepared by lawyers sensitive to each partner’s role, to protect both house sitter and home owner. When you register you can access these agreements from the members only page.
To Register as a Home owner – Follow this link
To Register as a House-sitter – Follow this link