Are you leaving the country for a month or so, or perhaps you are simply going on a vacation for a week or two? If so, and if you are concerned about what you will be leaving behind (your home, your pets, your plants, your entire way of life), you may be considering hiring a temporary tenant or “house-sitter” to take your place while you are gone. If this is what you have opted to do, there are some definite things to take care of before you leave…
~ If you rent the home, you will want to inform your landlord of this entire event and your intentions, as well as perhaps the temporary tenant’s information such as name and a number they can be reached outside of the home number.
~ Make sure the temporary tenants copies of all necessary keys. Do not give them your copy… but make them their own personal copy that they can use. You may want to consider leaving a third copy with a trusted friend or neighbor, or hiding it in a secret place, in case the unfortunate event arises that your temporary tenant loses their copy. You may want to make sure to get the extra copy to them before you leave, instead of waiting til the moment you leave, and that way you can avoid gaining a grumpy or confused tenant.
~ If your community is gated, you also want to make sure they can get in there as well. Make any necessary arrangements for them to be able to pass through stress-free, as well as future instructions for when they come and go and if they should ever run into trouble. If there is a security patrol on hand, you may want to discuss these arrangements with him as well – informing him of your address and the name of your new tenant.
~ Let the local police know about your temporary tenant, as this can save a lot of embarrassment and hassle later – just in case that nosy neighbor down the road starts thinking someone has broken into your house, or the nosy little lady on the corner who knows your every move starts to detect things happening differently around your place…
~ If you live in a community that offers amenities like a pool, rec room, etc., you may want to let your new tenant know about these and inform them how they can get in or provide them with necessary codes or keys.
~ Make a little home video or a detailed list of all the information they may need, walking them through daily chores or other required info. You may want to give them a list of local stores like grocery stores, government buildings like the post office, etc.
~ Let them know all the little quirks about your house such as dealing with appliances. Does the oven run hot? Let them know! Also make sure they know how to activate and deactivate burglar alarms, etc.
~ Leave them with necessary gadgets like the garage door opener and all necessary remotes.
~ Talk to your homeowner’s insurance company, informing them of the tenant’s stay and find out if they pay for damages done by the tenant such as fire damage. If not, try to make an agreement with the tenant that stipulates the tenant pays for an such damages.
~ Put your most precious possessions under lock and key, or entrust them with a trusted friend. Of course you want to be able to trust your temporary tenant, but you don’t want to tempt him either.
~ If you have an “off-limits” room, let your tenant know. You don’t have to let them know what’s inside unless you choose to, but you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable in the house at night with that one locked door…
~ Ask a close friend or neighbor to come around every now and then to say “hi”… not every day, but maybe once a week. This is good for the tenant, too, in case they have some questions.
~ If your tenant will not be caring for things like your yard or your pet or plants, find all of that out beforehand. If they won’t, then make sure you’ve hired and scheduled the proper help.
~ Be honest with your temporary tenant about your pet(s). Fido may love you, but they may not be too good with strangers. Leave appropriate toys and treats to help your new tenant get acquainted.
~ Give them a schedule for watering your plants or feeding your pets, or even taking care of yard work and putting out garbage to be collected on time.
~ Give them some closet space to hang their clothes and maybe some personal drawers to keep their tighty-whiteys and feel at home, and make sure to leave some clothing hangers for them to use.
~ Stock plenty of fresh soap, laundry detergent, face cloths, body towels, bed sheets, etc. and show your new tenant where these are located.
~ Show them emergency exits and show them where things like poisons are in case they go looking for a bottle of something else…
~ If you allow your guests to use your computer, printer, etc., let them know any little tricks of how to work them, or even let them know what’s off limits.
~ Leave a little welcome card, gift basket, welcome banner, etc. to make them feel welcome the first time they walk in the door. Gifts like a bottle of wine, some cheese, chocolates, etc. are always good ideas and can get things off on a great note.
~ And, of course, leave a list of your personal numbers and where you can be reached in case of an emergency.