Whether it’s feeding the dog or watering the plants, there are plenty of home owners in London that would love a holiday but need someone to look after their place. This offers a joint opportunity, as someone looking for a cheap break in London can have the accommodation completely for free.
Whether you are looking for a cheap holiday or you’re looking for a house sitter to stay in your residence, read on to find out everything you need to know.
Established Websites To Check Out
Trusted House Sitters
I like this site, with plenty of UK options, as well as a site layout slightly resembling Tripadvisor. If you plan on signing up, you will save money by choosing their year long option, however this comes to £83.88 for the year. Alternatively, you can sign up to 3 months, which is £60, meaning the 60% saving on the year is probably worth it.
The site has most of their reviews pulled through Trustpilot, an established Google trusted partner, where they have a five star rating from 1,359 reviews.
This site has been around since 2010, so it has established a strong name and reputation, unlike many of its younger rivals, which still have a lot of work to do on their websites.
With customers in a number of countries, their site still has a few bugs, but the company is definitely trustworthy and has many happy customers. At last time of checking, they had 57 houses available in London, not a bad figure compared to many competitors, but still highlights the room for growth.
Their layout of dates, property type and summary alongside the main image is very well constructed.
Mind My House
At a membership cost of $20 per annum for house sitters, this is a very cheap option, however the options are very limited and seem to be all USA based when I last checked. They rank well in the UK, but until they start offering more options for the UK market, I would consider one of the other options.
These sites will simply help you to partner up with someone who can either look after your house or who has a house to offer, the site won’t help with any other travel arrangements such as visa details or passport checks.
When you are looking for a house to sit, you are battling against a lot of other in similar situations, so you have to be flexible, while any previous experience will help push you ahead. The number one thing however is your previous experience of looking after animals, as many people struggle to say goodbye to their pets and are cautious about someone else they don’t know looking after them, so illustrating an affinity to animals will give you the edge.
Remember to be proactive when looking and don’t give up if you don’t receive a positive response straight away. They are inevitably inundated with messages, while earlier you send the message after the advert is live, more likely you will be accepted. Set yourself a set amount of time each day dedicated to messaging these people or looking for new opportunities.
For most houses, you won’t be expected to pay any of the bills, however some might require you to top up slightly, such as if electricity is on a meter card. However in general, the house owners should really cover all these costs. The only time you might have to consider contributing is if you are staying for quite an extended time. I have seen houses offering 3-4 weeks, so it is plausible you would be expected to pay towards electricity, but you would still be exempt of council tax, water bills, internet and any others.
In regards to content insurance, I wouldn’t blindly trust your items to be included in the home owners deal, while some may not have insurance in place, so you might want to setup insurance before you leave just to be careful.
I don’t want to look after animals
I’m not going to lie, over 95% of these deals involve an animal being looked after, however this doesn’t mean you can’t housesit if you don’t want to look after a pet. You will have to look around and it will take a lot longer, but you might want to look at houses that own easy animals to look after, such as hamsters.
Can I bring my pet with me?
Many houses are OK with this, but you are competing against a large number of people to be allowed to stay in the house, so you have to be realistic and accept this will lower your chance of getting chosen.
This is actually a similar situation with you bringing children along, as not everyone is happy for kids to be running around their house. Let’s be serious, they are pretty destructive, would you trust someone else’s kids running around your house for three weeks? Once again, write out a lengthy message explaining why and highlight how it won’t impose on your ability to do anything they require of you.
What If I Need To Cancel Early?
When you agree to take the place, you have made an agreement. Their might be some penalty in place, quite rightly, as you are putting their holiday on hold or cutting it short, so unless absolutely necessary, please don’t cancel your trip part way through. Think what you are doing to the other person, they have probably planned this trip for a long time, so only take this avenue if 100% necessary.
Can I Bring My Own Stuff With Me?
In general, this should be agreeable, but it depends on how big the item is and what it is. Make sure you have agreed beforehand in messages, so they know what they are agreeing to.
In regards to using their furniture, you will be able to use them to some extent, but you have to remember they will mainly be full up. If you find room in a wardrobe then you should normally feel free to use it, but don’t expect an empty one. They might not feel happy with you using their computer, as many people have private things on their, so you might want to bring a laptop with you.
How Long Can I Stay?
This is all based on what is agreed in the contract. Every country has different legal rules, so for example here in London the general agreement on the various websites is that based on tenancy agreements it shouldn’t really pass 11 months. On the other hand, if they outright own the house, you could pretty much get away with staying forever. Remember to look into visa details as well if you are travelling from further away.
Do I Have To Pay A Deposit?
Once again, this is agreed upon with the two parties, so you may have to, but it isn’t necessary in all circumstances. At the end of the day, it might make sense if they are worried about you stealing items or breaking anything.