When appropriate the house sitter may pay for some limited utilities (electricity, gas, phone calls/not phone rental) that they use during their stay. This usually applies for long term housesits. The housesitter should always be responsible for their own personal phone calls.
countries such as Canada where heating bills can be very high, this needs to be negotiated between the sitter and homeowner. If the sitter is caring for pets and the heating is therefore also for the comfort of the pets a fair arrangement should be made If there are a lot of extra duties with the housesit, and for short term sits,
it may be fairer for the homeowner to cover the utilities. Also even for long term sits, the house also needs to be heated so that the pipes won't freeze - so a shared arrangement should be considered even for long term sits.
Other recurring bills such as phone rental, rates, condo association fees, body corporate fees, strata fees, local council rates, water, sewer, cable TV rental, security services, ISP rental, or property taxes usually
remain the responsibility of the owner. If your arrangement will be 12 months or more in duration, you might consider allocating all or a portion of the recurring bills to the house sitter
There appears to be a practive in Canada where homeowners are asking up to 800 a month for utiliites. This is not in the spirit of housesitting, particularily when considering the benefits a house sitter brings - and the alternate high cost of leaving a vacant home eg costs of winterizing a
home. Stata or Condo fees should not be included in the utilities as - condo owner has to pay monthly regardless of occupancy.
I am including below a comment from some Canadian house sitters:
“The posters are definitely calling their charges utilities, not rent. However, if the posters couldn't find a housesitter, they would have to pay someone to remove snow from their sidewalk, rake leaves or water plants; or put some effort into what's called
"winterizing" your home if you want to shut it down for the winter. And finding a short term renter through traditional means is difficult, so they use your site to do it. In some ways a housesitter is doing them a favour: they want their house occupied while they're away, yet they want to charge for it. I live on the southwest coast, so can't say what heating costs are in colder areas, but $800 for all utilities is absurd,
particularly in this Alberta case where they're called "strata fees" — a fee a Canadian condo owner has to pay monthly regardless of occupancy.
“The house also needs to be heated so that the pipes won't freeze.
We urge you to incorporate your utility/tax payment conditions in your written contract.
Refer to our “Putting It In Writing” housesitting guide for examples.