Housesitter responsibilities: Pet induced damage?

25 Jul, 2023

Housesitter responsibilities: Pet induced damage?

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One of the many concerns we hear about at Housesitmatch is regarding what housesitter responsibilities cover. Where do they begin and end we are asked repeatedly. Do they include covering damages to property by pets while you are housesitting for example?

Read to learn how we suggest your handle your understanding and appropriate communications with the pet owners.

What are the duties of a housesitter?

Housesitter responsibilities usually comprise the care and management of both pets and property while the owner is away from home.

Regarding pet minding

  • Feeding and exercise for the pets
  • Ensuring the pets routine is maintained
  • making sure the pets are well cared for and out of harms way.

Regarding housesitting

  • Keeping the home in a clean and orderly state
  • Looking after the garden if asked to – watering plants, cutting the grass
  • Making sure the home is kept safe and secure in the owners absence.

Do housesitter responsibilities include covering pet induced damage on a housesit?

housesitter responsibilities
Some pets can cause a lot of damage, especially young pets who are still in training

Pets are adored for their endearing personalities and loyal companionship. However, as any pet owner will affirm, these lovely creatures can occasionally turn destructive, especially when under the care of a pet sitter.

The question then arises: “Am I liable if a pet causes damage while I’m house-sitting?” In this comprehensive guide, we delve into this issue, examining legal implications, insurance coverage, and offering proactive tips to ensure you are comfortable with your housesitter responsibilities on a housesit regarding pet damage to property.


Legal implications of property pet damage for the pet sitter

Understanding the legal aspect is a crucial starting point when discussing liability for pet-inflicted property damage and the housesitter responsibilities. Typically, the pet owner is legally liable for any damages their pet causes.

Yet, if a pet sitter is found to have been negligent or didn’t provide appropriate care for the pet, the tables could turn, placing the responsibility on the sitter.

Take for instance a scenario where you unintentionally leave the door ajar, and the pet escapes, causing damage to a neighbor’s garden. Or, despite knowing the pet’s penchant for chewing, you don’t take measures to prevent it from gnawing on the furniture.

In such cases, you might be considered responsible. Remember, the legal perspective varies by location, so familiarizing yourself with local laws is advisable.


Will Insurance cover it?

housesitter responsibilities
Accidents do happen but some pets are rambunctious and can cause more damage

Insurance coverage is a crucial facet of the property damage discussion. A common misconception is that homeowners and renters insurance will cover any damage caused by pets, which is unfortunately not the case. Homeowners insurance covers the property itself, as well as the contents.

Renters insurance, on the other hand, only covers personal belongings, liability for injuries that occur in your home, and living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable. However, property damage caused by pets is not covered by renters insurance. The same is generally true for homeowners insurance as well.

Cats often get into surprising places in the home, and this can cause unexpected accidents

Proactive communication: Resolve potential issues before they occur

Effective and proactive communication is a key ingredient in managing and potentially preventing any pet-related damage incidents. It is essential to discuss all aspects of your pet-sitting responsibilities, including the ‘what ifs’ of property damage, before commencing the house-sitting period.

Is this one of the housesitter responsibilities?

The first step is to agree on who will be held responsible in case of any pet-induced property damage. This agreement should be based on fair assessment and consideration of the pet’s behavior, your responsibilities as a pet sitter, and any legal implications that may be involved.

housesitter responsibilities
Housesitter responsibilities include looking after all pets from the calm well trained pets to the more lively rambunctious pets

Drafting a pet-sitting and housesitting agreement

it is good house sitting etiquette to ensure you and the pet owners have a good understanding of the assignment. Pre-empt any misunderstanding about the role and housesitter responsibilities by preparing a written agreement. To ensure there’s no ambiguity or misunderstanding, consider drawing up a pet-sitting agreement or contract.

Housesitmatch housesitting agreement template

This document should outline all the housesitter responsibilities, expectations, and conditions of the pet-sitting arrangement, including provisions for potential pet-induced property damage. At HouseSitMatch we offer all members access to a variety of agreement templates free of charge as part of your membership of the network.

For instance, the contract may stipulate that the pet sitter is responsible for any damages caused by negligence on their part, such as failing to secure the property or not properly caring for the pet. Alternatively, it may state that the pet owner remains liable for any damages caused by the pet’s unpredictable behavior.

Having such a contract allows both parties to understand their responsibilities and liabilities from the outset.


Creating a pet sitter profile and a good pet owner profile

Much like any agreed collaboration both parties should take time to understand both the housesitter responsibilities and the pet owner responsibilities.

As important as it is for you to create a good pet sitter profile it is as important for the pet owner to create a house sitter job description resume. This description of the house sit and pet sit needs to offer information about the pets, their state of health and the home so you have a clear understanding of what is required.

To further aid in prevention or any misunderstanding, ask the pet owner to provide a detailed profile of their pet. This profile should include the pet’s regular routines, habits, temperament, medical history, and any previous instances of destructive behavior.

Having this information ahead of the petsitting really helps you anticipate potential issues and put preventative measures in place.


Frequent updates and check-ins

Maintaining regular contact with the pet owner during your pet-sitting stint can also help mitigate potential issues. This is absolutely one of the housesitter responsibilities though it is advisable to check with the owner on the frequency of updates required.

Provide informative updates on the pet’s behavior, activities, and any unusual incidents. This way, if a problem starts to arise, you can inform the pet owner immediately, and together, decide on the best course of action.

hiring petsitters
Meeting and talking through the assignment is important to ensure all are clear on the housesitter responsibilities

In case of property pet damage…

Despite all precautions, if damage does occur, inform the pet owner right away. Document the incident with photographs, noting the circumstances leading up to the event. This will be important for any subsequent discussions about liability and, if necessary, insurance claims.

Remember, proactive communication is essential to ensuring a smooth pet-sitting experience, allowing you to tackle potential issues before they escalate. With a clear agreement, regular updates, and a spirit of cooperation, both you and the pet owner can enjoy a stress-free arrangement that ensures the wellbeing of the pet and protection of the property.

How to become a housesitter

Create an account on either Standard or Premium in 3 easy steps

– Register as a housesitter/ petsitter to create your account.

– Do an ID check online (we can help), we ask everyone to do this to keep the site safe.

– Build your profile with information about you, your experience with home and pets. Add photos – Premium accounts get more photos, resources and a video! Then post your housesit advert with your dates.


Managing housesitter responsibilities in summary

While determining whether property pet damage during house-sitting is one of the housesitter responsibilities can seem complex, understanding the legal implications, the role of insurance, and employing preventative strategies can bring clarity and peace of mind.

The primary aim is to ensure a positive, stress-free house and pet sitting experience, keeping both your interests and the pet’s wellbeing at heart. The right precautions and open conversations make this goal entirely achievable.

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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