House sitting: the ideal solution when you are away for a long time
Sponsored content by Buu Huynh - Expat services ING Luxembourg • Brand Voice •Expat Corner• 13.02.2020
(credit photo : ING Luxembourg)
Are you going to go on vacation soon? Do you have to make an extended stay abroad for professional reasons? Good, but who will care of your accommodation during this time while the number of break-ins is constantly rising in Luxembourg1? Who will feed your pets if you have some? The answer is in two words: house sitting.
House sitting is a service where you entrust your property, possessions and pets, for a period of time, to one or more “house sitters”. Coming straight from the United States, this trend is currently experiencing a significant revival of interest. The reason is that caring for a place is a win for both homeowners and house sitters.
Security on one side, no accommodation charges on the other
Il you are the homeowner, you can leave with peace of mind. Your property is occupied for the entire period you are away and is less likely to be burgled. The house sitter is supposed to take care of it in a way a good father should. He is responsible for keeping the home clean and airy, taking the mail, watering potted plants or in the garden, mowing the lawn and possibly maintaining the swimming pool. If you have one or more pets, you no longer have to put them in a pension. Your feathered or furry friends stay in their familiar environment and are not perturbed by changes that could traumatise them.
If you are the house sitter, you can travel and discover new horizons without worrying about hosting costs. You don’t have any accommodation charge and have a free access to the Wi-Fi that most homes have nowadays. In addition, you have the opportunity to live like locals and, over time, to get to know your new neighbours. In short, a beautiful human experience!
A boon for retirees
If house sitting has only advantages on paper, in fact, it still has some constraints. If you are a suspicious homeowner and do not tolerate that foreign people come to settle into your intimacy, you will find it very difficult to accept a house-sitting agreement without solid guarantees. As a house sitter, you cannot be away for too long because you are supposed to be at home every night. This can be very limiting if the accommodation is located in the middle of nowhere, away from it all.
It is therefore no coincidence that retirees who register as house sitters are amongst the first sitters looked at by home owners. They are considered more reliable and more available and know better how to manage everyday life and household chores.
How does it work concretely?
The procedures are relatively simple. You just have to become a member of one of the multiple online platforms, associations and agencies connecting owners and house sitters. If you want to apply as a house sitter, in principle you will be asked to complete a form (usually online) and to send documents such as your picture, a copy of your identity card, a judiciary record sample and a proof of address, in order to check your repute. If you are a homeowner, you also have to register. Once the homeowner and the home sitter are connected, an agreement to specify the rights and duties of each other is signed.
Members of house-sitting websites often pay an annual subscription fee that can range from around thirty to a few hundred euros depending on the duration. The rate is degressive: the greater is the number of days, the cheaper is the price per day. Some associations also request payment for the house sitter. But it is an exception: the principle of the house sitting is that there is no exchange of money between the homeowner and the house sitter.
And what about insurance? It is completely unclear because there is no legislation related to house sitting. Each insurance company has its own policy on this matter. Whether you are the homeowner or the house sitter, the best thing to do is to consult your insurance agent to discuss your policy coverage. Most house-sitting agencies – where prices are slightly higher – also have their own liability insurance.
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1 According to the latest activity report of the Luxembourg Police, 3,667 burglaries were recorded in 2018, i.e. an increase of 5.83% compared to the previous year.