When and how to give instructions ?

Generally, house-sitters arrive at least one day before the home-owner goes away. Take time to give instructions, get to know the property and the likes and dislikes of any pets.

Establishing friendly relations around a welcoming meal is an important moment in the process. To make it easier to issue instructions, a standard home-book is downloadable.

Who pays standard costs of upkeep (electricity, heating…) during the house-sit?

Standard expenses are generally borne by the homeowner. The house is handed over in good condition to the house-sitter to live in, in exchange for looking after it. But the deal may vary, depending on how long the property is occupied by the house-sitter. Things may differ, depending on the season and personal preferences. The important thing is to agree on all aspects beforehand.

Should a contract be signed?

It’s always advisable to sign a contract between the parties and to do so even if the contract has limited legal validity. Writing down the major features of the deal helps clarify the agreement and avoids misunderstandings.

A standard house-sitting agreement can be downloaded here.

A free Home-Book template can be downloaded here.

Telephone and Internet use

This important point requires agreement case by case, depending on country and services available. In Europe, telephone and Internet charges are frequently flat-rate, irrespective of levels of consumption. But not in all countries. Consumption of services can lead to unexpected additional costs, quite inadvertently. These issues must be clearly raised and settled beforehand.

Who pays for house-sitter living expenses?

Home-sitters take care of all their own purchases (for food and house cleaning materials), just as they would do if they were renting accommodation.

On the other hand, homeowners provide all the essentials of pet care (food, litter).

Should house-sitters be paid?

Generally speaking, no. Payment is not in the spirit of a community house-sitting platform. House-sitting is an exchange of services. Each party benefits from the deal in its own way.

Should I declare a house-sitter to my insurer?

Insurance issues are the same as for house swaps. Insurance companies are not really able to provide cross-border coverage, even today. Forewarned is forearmed. Go to your insurer for more information. Request details from your home-sitter or homeowner. Get things organized well in advance.

It’s advisable to warn your insurer that people are in the house to keep it safe when you’re away. Home and Contents insurance generally provides coverage for claims arising from causes other than the guests themselves (this may not apply when home-sitters travel between certain countries, check with your insurance company).

You can ask your home-sitters to provide you a copy of the coverage they have for legal liability when traveling under own Home and Contents policy.

If you provide accommodation to a home-sitter from abroad, ask them to show what coverage they have, and check this out with your insurer.

If coverage is insufficient, ask your insurer as a precaution, either to provide specific temporary coverage or to add a “No Recourse” clause to your contract for the period in question. Accommodating a house-sitter when you’re away is a good way to manage the risk of break-in and of damage claims (leaks, electrical failures). Click here to read further information.

If you’re a house-sitter, coverage under your Home and Contents policy known in France as “Responsabilité Civile Villégiature” is available for damage claims that arise when you’re house-sitting abroad, provided there are no geographical exclusions (United States and Canada, for example). Check this with the homeowner whose house you are looking after, to make sure that the home owner’s insurer provides coverage. If necessary, home-owners can extend coverage.

On the other hand, if you cause minor damage (breakages, scored or marked furniture), most insurance companies will refuse to cover or will apply a deductible which is a disincentive to claiming. The best thing then is to reimburse the cost of repair to the homeowner, as you would for a friend.

Is car lending possible?

Car loan is much appreciated when travelling abroad. It’s a real cost saver for the home-sitter. But just as with the house, each party must get precise information from its insurer. Depending on circumstances, the home-sitter may have to apply for provisional extension of coverage from his/her own car insurer. The home-sitter’s insurer will then need a copy of the vehicle registration document (aka carte grise in France) for the vehicle on loan.

What happens if I have to cancel a sit?

Cancellations are extremely rare in the P2P world, as the parties are fully aware of their respective commitments. Cancellations are hugely disappointing. If the home-sitter pulls out, the host household may not be able to get away on holiday. Not to mention problems of refunding air fares.

When cancellation becomes a known fact, the strength of a community platform lies in the number of alternatives available.

A member (either owner or sitter) who cancels a commitment without sufficient notice and/or without a serious reason (such as serious illness or death of a relative), may be excluded from Nomador without refund of their subscription fees (if applicable).

Because travel fares are often non-refundable, we advise not to buy plane or train tickets until you are sure that the other member’s commitment is definite. You may ask them to send copies of their own travel tickets, or a written agreement, as confirmation. We strongly recommend you buy travel insurance that will cover you in case of a cancellation due to unexpected serious events

Information on travel insurance, depending on nationality and destinations, is available from [http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance/](Cancellations are extremely rare in the P2P world, as the parties are fully aware of their respective commitments. Cancellations are hugely disappointing. If the home-sitter pulls out, the host household may not be able to get away on holiday. Not to mention problems of refunding air fares.

When cancellation becomes a known fact, the strength of a community platform lies in the number of alternatives available.

A member (either owner or sitter) who cancels a commitment without sufficient notice and/or without a serious reason (such as serious illness or death of a relative), may be excluded from Nomador without refund of their subscription fees (if applicable).

Because travel fares are often non-refundable, we advise not to buy plane or train tickets until you are sure that the other member’s commitment is definite. You may ask them to send copies of their own travel tickets, or a written agreement, as confirmation. We strongly recommend you buy travel insurance that will cover you in case of a cancellation due to unexpected serious events

Information on travel insurance, depending on nationality and destinations, is available from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance/. There are numerous travel insurance schemes, don’t hesitate to compare them.). There are numerous travel insurance schemes, don’t hesitate to compare them.

Can I invite family or friends when I’m house-sitting?

Put yourself in the home owner’s shoes. They don’t like the idea of strangers entering their home when they’re away. As a house-sitter, if you have family or friends close by, why not go and see them, rather invite them into a home that’s not yours?

You can ask for permission to entertain guests. But remember that guests are generally a source of worry to homeowners. Asking owners’ permission is good practice when home-sitting and is an obligation that should be scrupulously honored.

How can I make my opinion about a host or house-sitter known?

Nomador will ask you to assess the quality of the experience at the end of the stay. House-sitters and home owners should fill in this assessment form carefully, as it’s important for the other party. Given that:

  • Many homeowners or house-sitters daren’t say what they didn’t like, because they have a good relationship with and don’t want to upset the opposite party
  • Common ground in lifestyle terms is important (how can something as subjective as “cleanliness” be realistically assessed?)

Nomador proposes a badge system when it comes to house-sitting feedback. As people get more experienced in house-sitting, they build up their profiles and express them symbolically (Perfect House-Keeper, Green Fingers, Pet Lover). Profiles such as these are easy to compare and contrast and avoid the need for making value judgments, which can be misleading.

Badges identify the good qualities in people and concentrate on the positives. Profiles are built up as and when home-sitting experience is gained and as added entitlement to badges is acquired (three badges are awarded at the end of every house-sitting experience).

Written recommendations (free text descriptions) may also be delivered after a house-sit.

A dissatisfied member may choose not to leave a reference. In such a case, the homeowner's or house-sitter's profile will bear the comment "1 person does not recommend this member".

Of course, an unsatisfactory house-sitting experience can be reported to Nomador community moderators, who are able to investigate and take action.

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