House sitting Defined: House sitting is the practice whereby a landlord (or "homeowner"), leaving their 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. This is supported by the fact that insurance companies in the United Kingdom provide reduced rates for householders who use the services of house sitting agencies. Some insurance companies will void your policy if the house is left vacant for more than 30 days without prior arrangement. In Canada, there can be insurance company issues with leaving homes empty for more than 4 days. Therefore it is important to have someone enter your home at least once for every 4 days you are absent. Hiring a house sitter can provide the support and documentation you need to help you in the event that you may need to make a claim with your insurance company. A newly developed version of house sitting which has gained widespread acceptance, is the contracting of house sitters who do not live on premises. This house sitting arrangement requires the house sitter to provide regular visits to the homeowner's house. The frequency of visits are determined in advance and are not less than the minimum requirements as stipulated by the homeowner's insurance policy. This type of service can perform similar functions as mentioned above. It is becoming more popular as many homeowner's do not wish to have someone living in their house while they are away. 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). 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 number of tasks required if the home/pet owner is paying for a house sitter. This depends on whether the homeowner is paying a house sitting agency, or whether they have found a house/pet sitter from a house sitting website that enables them to find house sitters free of charge. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to both, including cost, reading information about, and being able to choose your house/pet sitter.
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