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Old 08.10.2011, 06:13
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House sitting questions

We're heading home for a month at Christmas and we'd be interested in finding house sitters to mind our home with a horse, a shetland pony and 5 chickens.

Has anyone advertised for house-sitters before? What were your conditions? How did it go? And what are the insurance factors to bear in mind - especially with a house heated with a swedish furnace?? Any suggestions?
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Old 08.10.2011, 12:58
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Re: House sitting questions

If you are using a professional house-sitting firm, they should have their own professional liability insurance and accident coverage. Ask to see proof.

If you hiring someone to do this as a side job or as an exchange of services - whether your own private liability insurance and household contents policies cover a third party can get murky - you really need to speak to your insurer.

There is more to worry about than simpy a broken vase. Accident and liability claims are the big worries. For instance, say the sitter is riding your horse, falls and injures himself and the horse. Who is responsible for his medical bills? Who is responsible for the horse's veterinary bills? What if the sitter causes damage to a third party while caring for your animals - who is liable? And so on...

Tell your insurer exactly what is planned - he/she will best advise you.

Oh, and whether you are hiring a professional firm or an individual - ask for a criminal records check (Auszug aus dem Strafregister), and check references from previous clients.

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Other than that, draw up a contract stipulating duties, be very specific as to how the animals are to be cared for each day - make your expectations crystal clear.

If there are things that you don't want done, even if it sounds like common sense, put that in writing as well. Leave nothing to chance.

Make sure you leave a list of all the firms you might need to use should something go wrong with the house - plumber, heating, electric, etc.

Leave a list of area veterinarians and after-hours clinics. You might also want to tell your vet that someone will be caring for the animals, as the vet if he/she needs some kind of statement from you so that the sitter can authorize treatment if needed.

Come to an arrangement as to how emergencies will be paid for. (Leave an emergency cash fund? Settle bills at the end?)

Also, do you allow your house sitters to bring their visitors over, or not? Make sure that you are both in agreement on this.

And, come to terms about reporting - do you expect regular updates as to how things are going?

Good luck!


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I rely on in-home dog sitters; the sitter is there to primarily care for my dogs, not the house, but as she is living in the house naturally she knows what to do if there is a problem with house stuff.

My long-term sitter was a godsend - I never worried when she was in charge, she was one hundred percent trustworthy and reliable. Sadly, she is retired now.

I have also interviewed/tried other sitters who were disasters. If you are using a new sitter, ask a neighbor to keep an eye out and to contact you if something doesn't seem right.

And, consider a short trial (or a series of trials) beforehand; caring for your animal/home is a big responsibility; a trial is a way to assess not only performance and responsibility, but also how your animals 'click' with the sitter.

Last edited by meloncollie; 09.10.2011 at 14:14.
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