Home Owner FAQ – House Sitting Australia

General Questions About Having a House Sitter

How much does it cost to join?

It’s FREE for home owners to join!
All we ask of you is to upload your ad (this is required if you wish to communicate with house sitters), keeping your listings up to date, and regularly cleaning up your mailbox.

Who house sits and why do they do it?

People choose to house sit for a variety of reasons. Many do it whilst travelling, to meet new people and explore new places. Others do it to save money on rent.
However, what they generally all have in common is a love of caring for animals and taking care of peoples homes in exchange for the unique opportunities that house sitting provides them with.

Why post an assignment online?

Although you can browse and search house sitters on OZ House Sitters, we believe it is much more efficient to post an Assignment for your housesit online.
We send out daily email alerts to House Sitters. Those who are available, eager and willing to apply for your house sitting position, will visit your profile and contact you via our internal messaging system
Additionally, we post some assignments to our social media channels to spread the word that you are looking for a house sitter.

Am I sure of getting a house sitter?

We cannot give a 100% guarantee that you will get a house sitter, because ultimately it’s the house sitters that choose the assignment and not us. However, you can increase your chances by making your listing attractive to house sitters and provided as much detail as possible.

How much do sitters charge?

The majority of house sitters do not charge for their services and are more than happy to sit in exchange for free accommodation.
We instruct all House Sitter that do charge a fee for their service to make this very clear in their profile.

Can I charge my sitter rent?

The majority of the times, home owners let house sitters stay for free in exchange for looking after their property and pets. However there may be times where a home owner will ask a house sitter to pay a weekly contribution to cover some costs such as utilities. These details are negotiable between the two parties and should be discussed prior to confirming the house sit.
Please note that Oz House Sitters does not allow home owners to list properties for rent and such ads will be removed.

Why should I get a house sitter?

A house sitter will perform agreed tasks that involve caring for your property and pets. This includes taking care of all the usual daily tasks involved with running and maintaining a home such as house cleaning, garden maintenance, pool maintenance, general house security, forwarding or collecting mail, caring for pets and the occasional odd job. This means you can rest assured that you home is not empty and unsecured, and your pets are well looked after whilst you are away.
All tasks required should be discussed directly with the house sitter prior to the start of the assignment.

Insurance

We recommend you obtain the right level of home and contents insurance. If you already have insurance, it’s a good idea to let the insurance company know that you will be away and be having an unpaid house sitter live in your home. Please also check the terms and conditions of you home and contents policy, as house sitters are guests and different conditions may apply. It’s good to let the sitter know in the case where their possessions are not covered.

Utility costs (electricity, gas, etc)

Usually home owners don’t expect payment of utilities for short term house sits. However, if you are posting a long term assignment, it may be an appropriate option. All this needs to be discussed prior to the assignment and with the house sitter.

How long is a house-sit usually for?

This doesn’t matter as the time-frame is entirely up to you. Although, it may be easier to find a sitter for a shorter house sit period such as 1-2 weeks.

Do I need an agreement and where can I get one?

Many home owners like to enter into an agreement with their house sitter for added security. We have made available a sample Agreement that you may like to use. You can view the sample agreement on your dashboard.

Do I need a bond/deposit?

Requesting a bond from your house sitter is quite common and certainly not a bad idea. The amount and where it is deposited until your return should be negotiated between you and the house sitter.

Cancellations

Cancellations do happen. Should the cancellation be unavoidable (such as a cancellation due to death or illness) contact should be made as quickly as possible with the home owner/house sitter. We advise house sitters not to buy tickets for their transportation until a firm agreement has been reached.
Cancelling a house sit without good cause and without reasonable notice is in our eyes deemed unacceptable. In cases where this occurs, please let us known immediately and we will investigate further whether it is appropriate to ban that member from our site.

Can I contact my sitter’s references?

Yes.
Before you choose your house sitter, we strongly recommended you verify the references the house sitter has supplied you with. House sitters can also choose to share their references/other documents via a shareable link, which is displayed on their profile.
Contacting references will not only validate information house sitters have given you. We strongly recommend you speak with at least two references.
It’s a good idea to start by sending them an email or text message, but be sure to connect directly too. Speaking to the references over the phone and hearing their voice, tone, and what they share in the conversation can be very helpful.

Dealing with emergencies

From a blocked drain, suddenly broken water pipe to something as unforeseeable as cyclone damage, having a house sitter means that such emergency repairs, as well as maintenance, can be dealt with promptly.
PLEASE provide your house sitter with a list of local emergency contacts, including but not limited to the following:
– trusted friend/family member who is available whilst you are away
– local doctor
– dentist
– ambulance service
– vet and other pet related contacts (groomers, trainers etc.)
– service providers
– police
– fire department
– neighbours
– taxis

Does OZ House Sitters vet it’s members?

No. We do not vet or screen members. We ONLY provide a meeting place for house sitters and homeowners.
It’s up to you (the home owner) to ask for and check a house sitters references, police clearances etc. We recommended you verify at least 2 references.
Please be sure to check references and do your ‘due diligence’. It’s a good idea to start by sending them an email or text message, but be sure to connect directly too. Speaking to the references over the phone and hearing their voice, tone, and what they share in conversation, can be very helpful.
Many sitters have references and police certificates available and will state so on their profile.
Some house sitters have provided a shareable link to their documents (via their account settings), and that link will automatically be shown in the messages between you and the house sitter.

How should I “vet” house sitters?

The four most important aspects when it comes to “vetting” house sitting candidates are the following: checking police clearances, checking references, the interview process and using your own intuition.
When choosing a house sitter it’s important to take your time, take a breath, and do some “due diligence”. Though checking references is extremely important, don’t forget to follow your intuition too. Many homeowners and house sitters, report “just clicking” and that when the “chemistry is good”, they knew it was “right”.
When you call a house sitter’s reference, you’ll be talking with someone who has “been in the same boat”. You’ll get the benefit of their past experience with the house sitter you’re considering, and hopefully some good advice. Checking a reference can be a valuable conversation on many levels.
Here some steps you can follow:
Once you have your “short list”, interview candidates via phone, Skype, FaceTime or whatever way you prefer.
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates for the job, ask for references.
Please be sure to check references and do your ‘due diligence’. Conversations with homeowners who’ve worked with the house sitter dependably yield good information–and advice that helps assure a successful experience. Please don’t hesitate to do this as your chosen candidate/s references have already agreed to be contacted. Start by sending them an email or text message, but be sure to connect directly too. What you hear in their voice, and what they share in conversation, can be very helpful.
Try to meet your chosen candidate/s in person, allow them to see what tasks are involved and get to know you and your pets.
When you’ve selected a house sitter, write down the terms you’ve agreed to in a written agreement. Having your agreement in writing makes misunderstandings less likely, and serves to remind both parties the details of what they have committed to.

Home Owner Registration/Membership Questions

How do I get started?

Getting started is simple. Just head over to our registration page and fill out the membership/registration form. Upon submission you will receive an activation email with a link to activate your account. Once you have clicked on the link in this email, you will gain full access to your account and can upload your house sitting assignment (which is required if you want to contact house sitters).

I can’t find my membership activation email.

Please check your spam folders and other folders such as junk mail, promotions, social. Etc.
You can click the “Resend” link on your dashboard page. Please note that only the most recent email will contain the correct link to activate your account. If you click on an older email, the activation link will fail.
If you still haven’t found the activation email, you can send as an email and we will resend you the link. Our email is: admin@ozhousesitters.com.au

Home Owner Account Questions

Things to include in your assignment listing

Your assignment listing should descriptive of the house sitting opportunity you are offering.
You’ll have a step-by-step form to fill out, which guides you in creating your online Assignment. You will be able to cover a variety of details such as dates, location, property, pet care and responsibilities.
Keep in mind that sitters are providing their services in exchange for a free place to stay, so make sure you provide as much information as possible.

How do I change my public display name?

To change your display name, please go to the Profile page and change the name in the field labelled “Display name”.

How do you spread the word about my open position?

House sitters who have chosen to be notified of house sitting assignments in your area will be sent an email notification. House sitting assignments will also be posted on our social media channels. This enables us to further spread that word that you are seeking a house sitter.

What information will be made public?

The details you provide in your ad, as well as your Display Name and your username will be visible to all users. Only house sitters can message you directly. It’s up to you whether you want to share any personal information with house sitters via our messaging system.

How can I pause the receiving of new applications?

Please click the pause button on your listing via your My Listings page. This will close your ad to new applications.

ID Verification

ID verification for House Sitters

We offer free ID checks for our house sitter members.
The Photo ID document a house sitter provides us is examined by a website moderator (not a third party provider).
If approved, a ID Verified Badge will be shown on the House Sitters profile, in the top right corner.

ID verification for Home Owners

We offer free ID checks for our home owner members.
The Photo ID document you provides us is examined by a website moderator (not a third party provider).
If approved, a ID Verified Badge will be shown on your listing/s and on your Author page, in the top right corner.
Find out more about visiting your Verification page.

Messaging System

How can I contact house sitters?

After uploading your ad, you can see a button to contact the house sitter. You can view your inbox via the Messages page.

Confirmation/Booking System

How does your confirmation system work?

You can request confirmation from house sitters who you have messaged. You’ll need to select the house sit you would like to appoint them to and the dates the house sitter is needed. Once submitted the house sitter can either approve or decline your invitation.

Messaging section on a confirmed House Sit

Once a house is confirmed, a messaging section is visible to both home owner and house sitter on the house sit details page. You can message each other from there rather then use the usual messages page. This is entirely optional.

Reviews & Ratings

Can I leave a positive review/feedback for a house sitter after a house sit?

Great to hear that you had a positive experience and yes, you can leave a positive review for a Confirmed House Sitter. The review button will be visible on your confirmed house sitter AFTER the house sit has ended. To view your confirmed house sitters, please visit your My House Sitters page. Then click on the house sit and the review button will be shown at the top of the page.

Can I receive reviews/feedback from house sitters?

Yes. The house sitter can leave you a review AFTER the house sit has ended.

What happens once a review is submitted?

Reviews are instantly published. For house sitters, this means any received reviews are published on their House Sitter listing page. For home owners, any received reviews will be shown on their profile/author page.

I received or wrote a negative review

All reviews must meet the guidelines set out in our Terms & Conditions. If a review breaches these guidelines, we have the right to remove it.
Complaints should not be in the form of a review, rather they should be sent to use so we can take disciplinary actions where we feel is appropriate.

Can I reply to a review I received?

No, this is not possible.

How are complaints or Negative Feedback Handled?

We don’t allow sitters or homeowners to post public critical & uncomplimentary remarks about each other.
On rare occasions there are very unreasonable homeowners and house sitters who don’t fulfil their side of the agreement.
If you are in an unfortunate situation where you find yourself in such a dilemma, we ask that you send you complaint to use directly along with true, clear factual and unemotional evidence and in dot point form. Please include the username of the other member!.
We will listen to both sides of the story and will take appropriate action from there. In any extreme cases or where we are aware that there have been multiple complains against a single member, we will ban that member from our site.
We recommend both sides sign the a House sitting Agreement, to avoid any misunderstandings. You may find our sample Housesitting Agreement on your dashboard.

Other Questions

Can I delete my Account?

Contact us to have your account deleted.
Please note that by deleting an account, all your information will be deleted and is non retrievable. This includes content assigned to you, such as your ad, confirmed House Sitters, messages & shortlists.

Can I be a house sitter too?

Of course, but you will need to create a separate account with a different email & username. Log out of your current account and then go to the Membership page to get started.

I’m not receiving any emails

Please make sure you whitelist our email addresses:
– info@ozhousesitters.com.au
– admin@ozhousesitters.com.au
Please also make sure to check all folders such as spam, junk, promotion or social folders.

I had a negative experience with a house sitter

We take all complaints seriously and members are required to take their agreed responsibilities seriously. We recommend both home owner and house sitter sign a House sitting Agreement (see our sample house sitting agreement via your Dashboard). This way everything is clear from the beginning and misunderstandings are avoided.
In the rare and unfortunate case of a negative experience, please lodge a complaint with us directly. This can be done the Contact Form.
We ask that complaints be sent to us that are factual and unemotional. We hear both sides and take appropriate action from there – including banning a home owner or house sitter from the site.
We reserve the right to ban members from our site, should we feel it is in the best interests of our other members.
For any serious complaints, we advise you to contact police or a relevant authorities, in addition to notifying us.
Serious complaints include, but are not limited to the following:
Physical Abuse
Sexual Abuse
Mental Abuse
Theft of Property
Mistreatment & Abuse of Animals
Misuse of Property

What time zone does the website operate on?

The website operates on Australian Central Standard Time.

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