House sitting refers to a practice where a person leaves their house for a particular duration and entrusts the home to one or even more house sitters. However, there has to be a mutual agreement that states the owner has allowed the house sitter to stay or live on the property. This, however, is a temporary stay in exchange for assuming some, if not all, responsibilities within the home. This includes taking care of the owner’s pets, keeping trespassers away from the property, and performing general maintenance, among other activities.
What Do You Understand by the House Sitting Agreement?
A house-sitting agreement is simply a contract that provides a formal framework for the relationship between the homeowner and the house-sitter. The agreement usually states the responsibilities that the house sitter has to assume and the period he or she will be house-sitting your property.
The Importance of Signing House Sitting Agreement?
Having a written agreement with your house sitter comes with a lot of benefits for both parties, as outlined below:
- Since it’s a written agreement, then the possibility of any party breaking the rules is minimal.
- It gives the property owner peace of mind knowing that their property is in the right hand.
- The agreement provides both parties to reach a mutual understanding that favors both of them.
- The deal protects the property from being used for any illegal activities.
What are the Critical Things to Tell your House Sitter?
Since you are more familiar with your property, it is essential to also prep your house sitter before leaving. This will help prevent miscommunication, save time, reduce stress, and make everyone’s experience more enjoyable.
Some of the critical things to tell your house sitter will therefore include:
- How and when to water the plants.
- Which bins should go out and when?
- Cleaning. This should consist of where to keep the cleaning products.
- Pool maintenance. Which chemicals to apply? When? How?
- Lawn care. How to use the mower? Whipper-snipper? Spare fuel?
- Your pet care needs include vaccinations, medication, pet areas, no-go zones, pet walking, and the poop policy.
House Sitter Responsibilities
Every homeowner will have a clear expectation of the house sitter and what they need to do. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the house sister to:
- Take care of the property, including the pets.
- Occupy the house, which includes more than just residing within the property.
- Maintain the plants
- Clean the property
- Provide a weekly report of the property to the owner
- Miscellaneous services, which include checking and forwarding phone messages.
How to Write a House Sitting Agreement
Writing a house sitting agreement entails more than just signing and outlining the responsibilities to be assumed by the house sitter.
When writing the agreement, you have to include the conditions and terms under which the chosen sitter may occupy your property. Your attorney can help you arrange this, or you can use a downloaded House Agreement file and then customize it to suit your requirements.
The document must also include specific detailed guidelines or instructions for the entire tasklist prepared during the interview. This includes:
- Directions for your garden and lawn care together with the equipment used for such purposes.
- Instructions for your house plant care, watering schedules, fertilizer, and many more.
- Guidance for your pet care, vet visits, medication, feeding times, and exercise schedules.
- Instruction for mail collection, forwarding, and handling.
- Guidelines for reporting damages, visitors, and emergencies.
All this must be included in your agreement to eliminate the possibility of miscommunication.
The agreement must also have a starting and ending date, whereby the end date is the day that the sitter has to vacate the property. In this segment, you need to outline the services that you will also be responsible for, including:
- Food provision
- Provisions of sundry equipment and items for proper care of your pets.
- Arrange for any payment for services rendered by a qualified veterinarian during the homeowner’s pets’ treatment.
You must also provide a seven-day notice to the house sitter in case of any changes to the agreed first-day housekeeping tasks. You must also state that the property will be vacant and better for the sitter to live in.
If the house sitter agrees on paying for any bill arising during their stay, then the current meter reading should be taken. However, the property owner should also state that they will reimburse the sitter for the service charges, including tax, animal costs paid by the sitter, and the cost of emergency repairs.
The agreement should also include the contact details of emergency repair professionals, including plumbers, electricians, builders, and locksmiths, among others, the homeowner details, including email and phone number, and the nominated house sitter details.
Any additional terms must also be noted before finalizing and signing the agreement.
While many property owners may choose to agree on a house sitting’s terms and conditions verbally, it’s essential to ensure that you safeguard your interest through the agreement.
As with any contract, it’s vital to ensure that a lawyer is present during the signing for legal purposes.
Therefore, House sitting agreements have a significant role, and you must ensure that your house sitter has no problem abiding by the set guidelines before leaving your property at his or her care.