Hiring a house sitter can be a mutually beneficial experience when both the homeowner and house sitter have clear expectations of the job. The homeowner has specific needs in order to maintain his home when he is absent and in return for these services the homeowner provides a rent-free environment for the house sitter. In order to protect both individuals and reduce confusion, it is always a good idea to write up a contract or agreement. This agreement will make sure that both the homeowner and the house sitter have clarity around what both parties expect, thus they are able to enjoy the experience and their respective needs are met.
What do I put in my agreement?
Drafting an agreement can take some time the first time, however, it is a necessary task and needs to be written in a detailed and careful manner. When writing the agreement, the house sitter and homeowner should both brainstorm a list of jobs that need to be done, and come to agreement on this list.
- General Details
Begin with a general description of the job. Include such details as the home address, the dates of employment, and any petsthat will be cared for.
- Emergency Contacts
It is a good idea to list emergency contacts in case an urgent event arises. Whether the house sitter gets locked out of the house or there is damage in the house, leaving prefered contacts is a good idea.
Outline various contacts such as a tradesperson for general repairs, the pet’s veterinarian, an emergency contact for urgent events such as a fire or flood, and the name of a person who has a spare key. Cover all possible situations.
Payment guidelines should be specifically outlined in the house sitter agreement.
Outline the value set aside for the bond, how much the house sitter is to be paid, and which utilities the sitter will pay for--electricity, gas, water, phone charges, and any other relevant home charges.
Finally, outline the specific tasks that the sitter should complete.
Some common tasks performed are:
- Gardening and lawn maintenance
- Light maintenance housekeeping
- Taking out the garbage
- Maintaining the pool
- Mail and fax forwarding
- Pet sitting
- vet trips