What are the critical responsibilities of a house sitter?

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Responsibilities of a house sitter

Do you know the responsibilities of a house sitter? You might think you know but read on to make sure you are aware of all the aspects of the duties. House-sitters are people who will agree to move into your property to care for your home while you are away. They do this as part of an active holiday or professional assignment to care for your home and pets in your absence.

responsibilities of a house sitter
Ensure you pet housesitter is checked and from a reputable source – check online reviews

What is a house sitter?

A house sitter is someone whom you choose to care for your home and pets while living in your home. Their duties can vary and expand according to your requirements, their skill sets and amenability. Determining the responsibilities of a house sitter while they are in your home is important to ensure clarity of brief and a win win on both sides.

It is good to know that while you are away on holiday you can have peace of mind knowing there is someone there to keep your home safe. Start by looking for housesitters to help you.

How do you find house sitters and pet sitters to help?

But how do you find the sitters already checked and with home and pet care experience?

At Housesitmatch.com can help you to find suitable sitters that are already checked and with experience. And we understand the responsibilities of a house sitter so we an guide both you the home and pet owner, and the sitter.

These days there are a range of housesitting platforms like Housesitmatch. They offer wide access to pre-checked house and petsitters through a managed network. But few will help you articulate the responsibilities of a house sitter as part of your brief, when you bring a new sitter into your home. Before we start to show you how to create that brief, let’s understand a few house sitting terms.

What is a housesit?

A housesit is an arrangement between the house sitter and the homeowner where the sitter will move into the home to care for pets and property over a set period of time. The assignment can be a paid job if you agree to a house sitter jobs salary. However, many housesitting arrangements are for free with an exchange of services for both parties.

The briefing for a successful housesit

However, for a successful housesit you need to be clear in your understanding and briefing the responsibilities of a house sitter:

  • Free house and pet sitting – In the case of a housesitting platform like Housesitmatch no money changes hands it becomes an exchange of services. The housesitter secures free accommodation in exchange for free home and pet care. So it is really important to be clear with each other as to what is expected by the home and pet owner, and what can be delivered by the sitter.
  • First clearly identify for yourself the responsibilities you need the house sitter to handle – House sitters understand that this is a responsible role and that your home and pets are their responsibility whilst they live in your home. But you the homeowner and pet owner need to be super clear about what is needed, and document that brief for them. A combination of a briefing document and an agreement can be seen as a house sitter job description resume. Detail house sitting etiquette where to sleep for example.
  • Then describe the responsibilities of a house sitter in your home – To ensure there is a clear understanding between the homeowner and the house sitter with clarity around the responsibilities of a house sitter coming into your home, prepare a written agreement. Make a list of all the routines that will ensure your home is well run in your absence. Write a brief if you can.
  • Personal briefing if the house sitter/s arrive a day or two early – Equally this method can work well for some homeowners and housesitters. It can be easier to be shown what to do in a face to face meeting.

The house sitting agreement

Prepare a house sitting agreement to underline the responsibilities of a house sitter in your home. This way you can ensure routines are managed. It is a good idea to create such an agreement between you and the sitters to outline the responsibilities for the sitter.

  • Access to an agreement template – At Housesitmatch.com we offer all members access to a housesitting agreement template. In fact we have both a legal document, prepared by lawyers for use by both the homeowner and the housesitter. And we have a more informal version of the agreement. Both are available to all active members. the agreement is easy to use and adapt for your own unique housesitting assignment details.
  • Does the agreement give a house sitter description example – The agreement also enables you to review the details that are important to both parties in this arrangement. While agreeing terms, remember the housesit is a shared collaboration for mutual benefit.
  • The house sitting briefing document – We also offer a briefing document called the ‘Easy Sit Guidelines‘. It is available in template form for you to download and complete as a questionnaire so you ca brief your sitter, in all the responsibilities of a house sitter in your home.


What does a house sitter do?

What are the typical responsibilities of a house sitter

Home and property care

Looking after the home and garden is part of the assumed duties that are expected. These are usually core responsibilities of a house sitter.

Home care while housesitting

You might have to care for the home by keeping it clean and tidy. Make sure you return the home to at the very least the condition you found it in. Care and watering of house plants is also a common request. And sometimes that means the pot plants around the property on the outside as well as on the inside.

Garden sitting and garden care

Depending on the homeowner request you might be asked to mow the lawn or tend the vegetable and flower patches to keep the plants alive in the owner’s absence.

Pet care requirements

Whether the housesitter is also a petsitter caring for beloved family pets, or simply caring for home and garden, you must collaborate. And for that reason you may ask do house sitters stay overnight. Yes they do. And as a homeowner you need to make space for your housesitter to stay in you home to are for your pets.


what are the responsibilities of a house sitter
Petsitting can mean caring for all kinds of animals


So most housesits involve care for pets in their own home. It is one of the most popular responsibilities of a house sitter. You may be looking for dog sitting, caring for cats, you may be bird sitting or even Guinea pig sitting.

The care and well being of the pets is often core to the housesit requirements and one of the responsibilities of a house sitter while in the pet owners absence. In summary, that means housesitters are responsible for feeding routines, exercise routines and grooming. All these activities form part of what you might be asked to do to care for the pet.

Specialist pet sitters

Some housesitters specialise in particular pets as either dog sitters or catsitters etc. Some even state on their public profile if they have more experience with particular pets. Alternatively they may state if they are general all rounders and have cared for lots of pets.

Occasionally petsitters have experience with unusual domestic pets. They state they understand bird sitting or caring for exotic pets, reptiles in particular. For example pet Komodo dragons and small pet snakes have become popular recently.

Other housesitters like to keep skills sharp and offering more skills to home and pet owners. Some do this by taking pet first aid courses, or dog handling courses for example in their downtime. This may or may not be important to you as a pet owner.

Why become a housesitter

Some housesitters are active in housesitting because they love the active holidays and animals. They may state in their profile that they like to stay in homes and care for resident pets rather stay in anonymous hotels or hostels. it is a great way to travel affordably, and they can use their experience in a working holiday.

It can really enhance the experience of a new location to stay in a neighbourhood, and live like a local.


As a homeowner care for your property while you are away is one of the responsibilities of a house sitter. You can ask them to do a variety of tasks.  Writing out the tasks helps you and them understand what are the responsibilities of a house sitter. You can obviously ask them to care for your pets, and pick up after the pets in your garden or when out walking.

You can also ask them to care for your property including basic garden upkeep. If there is a garden but no regular gardener then housesitters usually tidy the garden, and mow the lawn. You may be asked to plant out seedlings so as not to delay growing season in the garden while the homeowner is away.

If feeding and exercising pets they need to be mindful and manage pet food supplies and cleaning around the pet.

 A final note on the responsibilities of a house sitter

The owner should outline all the specific housesitting requirements in their assignment listing. Include this list of chores in the written agreement between participants. This step will really help you identify the responsibilities of a house sitter that are important to your housesit.

House sitting arrangements are free for the home owner and house/pet sitters. However, the homeowner should cover expenses incurred for pet care and/or essential maintenance. It is best to prepare a kitty or float at the beginning of the housesit to cover core expenses. Add this to the written housesitting agreement for clarity.

Further reading

To find out more about House Sitting and Pet Sitting with HouseSit Match, visit our ‘About Us’ webpage, or you can begin the registration process straightaway.

Further reading 

At Housesitmatch.com we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters useful.

House Sitting Abroad






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