Housesitting in UK article 2
House sitting is
increasing in popularity in the United Kingdom. Instead of shutting up their homes, setting the alarm system, and taking their pets to boarding kennels, an increasing number of British people are employing house sitters to look after their homes and pets while they are away. There are many advantages to this type of arrangement, not only for the homeowners themselves, but also for the growing number of house sitters.
The Benefits of Engaging a House Sitter in the UK
As a homeowner, do you often worry about the security of your home while you are away on holiday or business? These worries are often well-founded as burglars, vandals and squatters look for easy opportunities and an unattended house is the easiest opportunity of all.
Another consideration when leaving a home unattended is the possibility of an unforeseen event, such as a flood or fire. This is of particular importance
during the winter months when pipes can freeze and burst if the house is not adequately heated.
Furthermore, if you have pets, boarding kennels are not the best solution as pets prefer to stay in familiar surroundings with established daily routines, even if their owners are not around. For elderly pets or those who require special medication, boarding kennels are definitely not a good option.
Engaging a house sitter provides an effective solution
to all of these problems, especially if your home is in a secluded or rural position and there are no near neighbors who can inspect the house periodically. Equally, engaging a house sitter to look after your holiday home, whether it is in the Welsh mountains or the Scottish Highlands, can also provide peace of mind.
A further advantage is that many UK insurance companies will reduce their home insurance premiums if a house sitter is in
residence whilst the homeowner is away.
It is free, and easy to register as a homeowner to match with for a suitable live-in house sitter who will care for your pets and look after your house and garden.
Once you have found one or two potential house sitters, it is important to check their references. Although the vast majority of house sitters are genuinely trustworthy, there is always a
small chance that you may be entrusting your home to someone who is less than trustworthy. It is essential, therefore, that you check out a house sitter’s credentials before agreeing to an assignment.
It is a good idea also to meet the house sitter before handing over the keys. Show him or her around the house, explain how locks, alarms, and appliances work, and introduce your pets to him or her. You should also give your house sitter a detailed household manual describing how
everything in your home works and how pets, plants, and the garden should be cared for. Emergency telephone numbers, such as the number of a local plumber or vet, should also be included, so that the house sitter is able to act swiftly should an urgent situation arise.
The Advantages of being a House Sitter in the UK
Imagine taking a dog for a leisurely walk down an English country lane and returning to a thatched country
cottage with roses growing around the door. Or, how about a bracing walk on the beach followed by afternoon tea in a Victorian house overlooking the sea? Perhaps living in a trendy loft apartment in the heart of London with all of the capital’s attractions on your doorstep is your dream. All this and more can be yours if you work as a house sitter in the United Kingdom.
House sitting is quite simply looking after people’s homes while they are away. You will be expected to
live in the property and do a few hours’ work each day. The work may include keeping the house clean and tidy, watering plants, answering the telephone, maintaining the garden, looking after pets, and anything else that you have agreed in advance with the homeowner.
House sitting assignments can range from a few days to several months or perhaps even longer. Some house sitters work continuously, moving from one assignment to another; other house sitters only carry out one
assignment per year.
In many cases, the property that you are looking after will be more spacious and more luxurious than a property that you could afford to rent, especially in high-cost areas of the UK, such as London and the South East of England. Bear in mind, however, that you will need to have your own transport if the house is outside one of the major cities as public transport is at best infrequent and at worst non-existent in many areas of the UK.
If you have a home-based business, a further benefit of house sitting is that you should be able to continue with your work during an assignment. However, if you need to use the homeowner’s Internet connection, this should be agreed upon in advance, as should telephone usage.
Some homeowners allow partners to accompany you on assignments. This is of great benefit as your partner is able to continue with his or her employment and you can both enjoy rent-free
House sitting is an ideal persuit if you are retired or semi-retired. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore areas of the UK that you have never visited before and to stay in a variety of well-maintained homes.
House sitting is also a good option if you are on a working holiday.
It can enable you to extend your working holiday at a low cost whilst staying in attractive surroundings. Or, if you are taking a long vacation or some time out for traveling, it could be a way of making your budget stretch further whilst exploring the UK and gaining a real-life experience of what it is like to live in various cities, towns, villages and remote areas of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is an experience that cannot be gained from staying in hotels.
Since you will be in a position of great trust and you are a stranger to the homeowner, he or she will require references before selectiong you. If this is your first house sitting assignment, previous employers could comment on your trustworthiness and reliability; and, if the assignment involves caring for pets, references could be provided by people for whom you have walked dogs or looked after cats.
If you are working as a house sitter, is also a good idea to take out
your own liability insurance. The homeowner will then be easily compensated if you accidentally damage or break something during an assignment.
For both homeowners and house sitters, the relationship is a favourable one. Homeowners have the assurance that their homes, gardens and pets are being well looked after in their absence. At the same time, house sitters are able to enjoy living rent-free in attractive surroundings in return for a few hours’ work per day for which they
receive a small compensation. All in all, it is a win-win relationship.
More on House Sitting in UK - article 1