Proper Apartment-Sitting Etiquette

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Proper Apartment-Sitting Etiquette

Staff Writer · Feb 19, 2010

Apartment sitting is a fun way to earn some extra cash or help out a friend. Staying in a home other than your own can seem like a mini-vacation, one that costs very little to you. However, there are a few rules for apartment sitters that will ensure everyone’s happiness, safety and peace-of-mind.

Follow the Rules

Everyone lives differently. What you tolerate and how you do things in your home may be different than someone else’s preferences. When apartment sitting, you must abide by the homeowner’s rules. If you are unfamiliar with how things are done, ask for and carefully follow the provided guidelines. Check to see which dishes can go into the dishwasher, when pets need to be fed and taken for walks, cleaning preferences, and whether you should sleep in the guest room or on the sofa. Also ask if there are any maintenance issues to watch for or repairs scheduled during your caretaking. Obtain a list of emergency numbers and keep it handy should a problem arise.

Keep It Neat and Separate

A good rule for apartment sitters is to leave the apartment in as good or better condition as when it was put into your care. Wash any dishes you dirty, vacuum and wash the used sheets and towels, and wipe down the bathroom before leaving. Do not change settings on any appliances, clocks, or other items. Most important, do not enter rooms or touch items that have been specifically identified as off-limits, and don’t invite your own guests.

It is also important to take care of the area outside the apartment. Clean up after dogs, do not play music or the television loudly or leave garbage or other items in the hallway or public spaces.

It is also important to not bring too much from your home to the apartment. Of course if you are sitting overnight or for a long time, you will need to bring with more belongings. However, do not bring the contents of your entire bedroom. Do not mix your things with the apartment tenant’s, as they may be difficult to separate, make the tenant’s belongings dirty or be left behind when you leave.

Keep Everyone Informed

Ask for and keep nearby the tenant’s contact information in case of an emergency. It is wise to also obtain an alternative contact should the tenant be unavailable. If the tenant asks for or otherwise expects regular updates, determine the frequency of the updates. Another good idea is to maintain a list of activities done and occurrences happening while apartment sitting. If you are also taking care of pets, include things done for their care on this list. Provide this record to the tenant while sitting or upon your departure.

Do Not Over-Commit

It is okay to say no. If you are unable to apartment sit, or cannot do so properly, decline the request or do not offer to help. It will cause more problems and anxiety if you help when you are not equipped to do so. If you are worried about saying no, explain that you wish you were able to help and provide the reasons you are unable. It is possible that the apartment tenant may not similarly view the issues making you hesitant and you will be able to help after all.

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