house sitter

House sitting

[hous-sit]

House sitting (or bedsitting) is the practice whereby a landlord (or "homeowner"), leaving his house for a period of time, entrusts it to one or more "house sitters", who by a mutual agreement are entitled to live there rent-free in exchange for assuming responsibilities such as taking care of the homeowner's pets, performing general maintenance (including pools, lawns, air-conditioning systems etc.), keeping trespassers off the property, readdressing the mail, and in general, making sure that everything runs smoothly just as if the owner were at home.

It is also generally implied that crime is deterred by the presence of the house sitter.

The whole practice is open to negotiation, notably as to whether a security deposit is required by the homeowner and whether a money payment should be made from one of the parties involved (as its share of the benefits is larger: typically, this is considered to be the house sitter).

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Variation of house sitting

Rather than living inside the home while the homeowner is gone, the house sitter may instead visit the home periodically throughout the day to perform the aforementioned tasks, including taking in the newspaper, watering plants, getting the mail and turning lights on and off to give the house a "lived-in" look.

Often, pet sitters simultaneously assume the role of a house sitter while they are caring for a homeowner's pet. This may or may not increase the pet sitter's standard rate, depending on the individual and the amount of tasks required.

Internet influence

The practice of "house sitting" has been greatly affected by the development of the Internet. Demand and offer can be matched more easily and anonymously through the use of dedicated web sites.

Usually these sites require a membership fee from either the would-be house sitter, the homeowner or both, and provide a basic infrastructure to allow contacts between potential house sitters and homeowners

References

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