Rentals.com Company Blog

Rental's Tips, Renter's Corner

By Amber

When you leave your rental house in the hands of a housesitter, you’ll also want to ensure you answer pertinent questions to help your sitter’s stay go smoothly. Put yourself in the shoes of the person watching your home to help you cover all the bases — before you hand over the key!

What do you need the housesitter to do?
Begin your preparations by determining the scope of your housesitter’s responsibilities. Will your sitter  visit to pick up the mail, water the plants and generally keep an eye on the place? Or will your sitter stay overnight in your home, caring for and walking pets, and establishing her presence to deter thieves?

Write down house rules
Of course, you want to feel very comfortable with any person you choose to stay in your rental home. Your lease might establish guidelines for the length of time a housesitter can stay. You might also want to share a list of any particular rules your landlord has established. Where to place garbage or recycling and where to park might be a couple of the details you’ll want to share. How to lock and disarm the alarm system might be another important detail; you might wish to change your access code after your sitter’s visit for security reasons.

Also, try to anticipate what your housesitter might assume about access to the house. Write down your personal requests, such as whether visitors are allowed or if certain rooms are off limits. Think of the items inside the house you’re comfortable with a sitter using, such as your gaming system, television, stereo, computer or swimming pool. Let your sitter know whether she may eat the food in your refrigerator, as well. For pet feeding/medicating/walking and plant watering directions, list frequency and/or times of day you’d like these tasks performed.

If you are using a professional housesitter, you will both sign a contract that will list many of these details.

Leave important contact information
On another document, include your travel dates and how you can be reached. Be sure to leave behind the landlord or property manager’s contact information, emergency service numbers (fire, police, ambulance), your vet (if pertinent), security company, yard maintenance and any other services your housesitter may need to interact with. If your sitter is not familiar with the area around your rental home, leave transit maps, store locations and any other helpful information to help locate services nearby.

Do a walkthrough
Before you leave your rental home in the hands of your housesitter, have her come over for a walkthrough tour. Go over all of the information you’ve assembled. Show her the locations of the alarm keypad and thermostat, where you keep pet food and medicine, and where you’d like her to leave the mail.

Having someone watch your home can give you real peace of mind while you’re out of town. To make sure everything goes smoothly for the person left in charge, do your homework and anticipate everything that person needs to know both to care for and have an enjoyable stay in your rental home.

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