What are my responsibilities as a home owner to a house sitter?
1. Provide a safe and clean environment
This is paramount for house sitters. It is one of the top complaints. This doesn’t mean you have have the Good Housekeeping award, but it does mean to ensure there is a clear space for house sitters to live in. We all understand each of us has a different viewpoint of what is acceptable, however, it is necessary to provide a healthy space for house sitters. Also, make sure there are no ‘infestations’ prior to leaving. Having a good regime for keeping your pets free of fleas and ticks helps.
2. Have clear expectations agreed upon before the sit
This is the foundation of a good house sit. Emails, skype (or your preferred method of video chat), and a good checklist are your best friends. Contact, discuss, agree, send email confirmations on all points. This will ensure both expectations will be met. If you are going to have people dropping in (family or deliveries, etc.) let the house sitters know. We have seen numerous sits where a family member is still in the home while the house sitters are there and this can be alarming if not agreed to up front.
3. Provide the sitter with a detailed handbook spelling out those expectations. We suggest you create a Book of the House or a House Sitter Handbook.
Again, follow through on your other communication with a Book of the House. This will contain all of the details of your home and expectations. The house sitter then has all the information they need to know and you can rest easy knowing you have covered all the bases.
4. Ensure you are always available for communication.
Discuss with the house sitter your preferred method of contact, how frequently you expect contact and provide your itinerary.
5. Ensure that neighbors or friends know that someone is going to be in your home
This is really important for the home owner as well as the house sitter. Introduce your house sitter to the neighbours. This gives the house sitter a safety net as well as ensuring the neighbours don’t call the police! It will also provide another level of security for you in terms of you can always communicate with your neighbours on how the house sit went or is going in your absence!
6. Alert your veterinarian. Establish an account with the vet.
Ensure a consent for medical treatment is in place. This alerts your Vet that you have given your permission to the house sitter to bring your pet to the Vet for treatment and that, in your absence, can make decisions with the vet on the care and treatment of your pet. Discuss with your house sitter on how to reach you, and in the event of an emergency, clearly instruct your house sitter on what to do. Accidents happen, and you need to be prepared for this eventuality.
7. Ensure the sitter is aware of the operation of your home and contents
8. Ensure there is enough safety gear and fuel to operate any equipment required (ie: lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, weed wacker)
9. Ensure there is enough food for animals for the duration of the sit
10. If you are comfortable enough, you can leave some ‘mad’ money just in case or ensure that you have accounts set up with the vet and/or other service providers…the sitter should never be out of pocket.
House Sitting World