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TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR HOMEOWNERS

 

Limits of responsibility

 

The House Sitting Company does everything it practically can to ensure that the house sitting experience is a safe and rewarding one for both home owners and sitters. Home owners seek us out because we weed out sitters that have a criminal history, require that they provide suitable references, and personally interview and brief each one. We insure them against accidental damage to property, and we provide the means for home owners to provide feedback on sitters they have employed.


Thereafter we need to rely on the home owner to take responsibility for their choice of sitter. We also rely on sitters to assess the safety and suitability of the assignment for their particular circumstances, as we are not practicably able to vet homes, pets or owners. This is why we stress the importance of at least one face-to-face meeting between home owners and sitters (or Skype if a face-to-face meeting is not possible), to assess mutual compatibility for the assignment.


Where the sitter has unexpected issues during the sit (one sitter found herself placed in a bedroom right next to the town clock for example); we will do what we can to help. But we don't take any responsibility for any misalignment of expectations between the two parties. While we provide guidance to home owners on how to properly brief a sitter, and provide guidance to sitters on how to do a good job, it is the responsibility of home owners and sitters to make their precise expectations known to each other.


If our home owners and sitters understand these limitations and follow our recommended processes, in the vast majority of cases the assignment will go smoothly and both parties will be very satisfied. You can ask the hundreds of participants that have used our service.


In the rare instances where there is dissatisfaction on either side, you have our promise that we will seek clarification from both homeowner and sitter before taking any position on it. We stand by our sitters when we feel they have been treated unfairly, but on the other hand reserve the right to disable their profiles if they have clearly been negligent in their duties. In this way we act to preserve the integrity and reputation of our service.


Lastly, we expect homeowners and sitters to always treat each other and our staff with respect. We will not tolerate verbal or physical abuse, sexual harassment, discrimination or any other forms of antisocial behaviour.


This policy will enable us to continue to offer a first class, industry-leading service to home owners, and fantastic opportunities for sitters. 

 

1. GENERAL

 

1.1 The Company will provide the Client with the House Sitting Services upon these Terms. It is important that the Client reads these Terms carefully as:

 (a) the Client shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms by engaging the Company’s House Sitting Services. If the Client does not accept these Terms the Client must not use the Company’s House Sitting Services; and

 (b) the Company may vary these Terms at any time and the Client’s continued use of the House Services will be deemed acceptance of any such variation. The effective date of any such variation to the Terms will be the date that such variations are posted on the Company’s website. The Client is responsible for keeping up to date with any such variations to the Terms.

 

1.2 For the avoidance of any doubt, any variation to these Terms shall only apply where that variation has been expressly agreed in writing by the Company.

 

2. SCOPE OF THE HOUSE SITTING SERVICES

 

2.1 The Company provides an introductory service to connect the Client with potential House Sitters. The scope of the Company’s services are as follows:

 
(a) 
the Company will interview each potential House Sitter via Skype or by phone where Skype was not practical; 

(b) the Company will obtain a criminal record check for each House Sitter;

(c) the Company will provide the Client with a list of potential House Sitters, including the House Sitter’s profile, criminal record check and names of the House Sitter’s referees; and

(d) the Company will provide the Client with the House Sitters contact details on receipt of the deposit as set out at clause 4.1.

 

2.2 Whilst the Company will take reasonable efforts to ascertain the general suitability of the potential House Sitters, the Client acknowledges and agrees that:

(a) the Client is ultimately responsible for interviewing and engaging the House Sitter;

(b) the Client has relied on the Client’s own judgement and initiative in relation to the suitability (including without limitation the character, experience and the skills of the House Sitter) and engagement of the House Sitter. The Client has not relied on any representation by the Company which is not expressly stated in these Terms;

(c) the Company does not endorse any House Sitter nor does the Company guarantee the suitability of the potential House Sitters;

(d) the House Sitters are independent volunteers and they are neither employees, contractors and/or agents of the Company;

(e) the Company strongly recommend that the Client and the House Sitter enter into a house sitting agreement to set out the basic rights and obligations of the parties (e.g. payment of Utilities, care of pets and guests etc. and the Client will use its best endeavours to enter into such arrangement). The Company has posted an example of a house sitting agreement on the housesitters.co.nz website for your general information;

(f) the Client’s house we be delivered to the House Sitter vacant and the client has not arranged or organised any invitee or third party related or associated with the Client to stay at the House during any period within which the House Sit is taking place without first obtaining the consent of the House Sitter or the Company; and

(g) the Client has carefully read and understood these Terms.

 

2.3 The Client warrants that the Client is either the legal owner or the lawful tenant of the House. The Client further warrants that where the Client:

(a) is a co-owner of the House, all other co-owners agree to the Client making the House available for a House Sit; or
(b) is the tenant of the House, the legal owner of the House has granted consent to the House Sitter being in possession of the House and the insurance requirements pursuant to clause 6 have been satisfied.

 

3. HOUSE SITTER INTRODUCTION FEE 

 

3.1 The Client shall pay the House Sitting Introduction Fee to the Company as set out in these Terms.

 

3.2 Subject to clauses 3.3 (minimum and maximum fee), 3.4 (peak season fee) and 3.5 (quotes), the House Sitting Introduction Fee is calculated on a daily basis as follows:

(a) Base rate: $13 (including GST) per day;

(b) Dogs: $5 (including GST) per day for the first dog, $7 (including GST) per day for each additional dog;

(c) Cats: $3 (including GST) per day for the first cat, $4 (including GST) per day for each additional cat; and

(d) Other domestic pets: $3 (including GST) flat rate per day (e.g. fish, birds, mice etc.).

 

3.3 The minimum and maximum House Sitter Introduction Fee in the off peak season are as follows:

(a) the minimum House Sitter Introduction Fee is $149 (including GST) per House Sit;

(b) the maximum House Sitter Introduction Fee is $699 (including GST) for up to 2 calendar months, any additional month (or part thereof) in the off peak season will be charged at then $150 (including GST) per additional calendar month.

 

3.4 A holiday surcharge of 15% applies to House Sits falling between 20th December – 10th January (“Peak Period”). The minimum House Sitter Introduction Fee is $249 during the Peak Period.

 

3.5 The House Sitter Introduction Fee (or any component thereof) is subject to change. Accordingly the Client must contact the Company for an accurate quote or use the Company’s Quote Form (“Quote”). Unless otherwise stated, all Quotes will be open for acceptance by the Client for fourteen (14) calendar days from the date of Quote.

 

4. DEPOSIT AND PAYMENT

 

4.1 In the event that the Client elects to interview any potential House Sitter(s), the Client shall pay to the Company a refundable deposit equivalent to 1/3 of the Quote (“Deposit”).

 

4.2  On receipt of the Deposit, the Company shall provide the Client with the contact details for the potential House Sitter(s).

 

4.3 Subject to clause 4.6, where the Client contacts all the potential House Sitter(s) and deems him/her/them to be unsuitable for the House Sit, the Company shall refund the Deposit to the Client within seven (7) calendar days of the Client notifying the Company in writing of the unsuitability of the potential House Sitter(s). The Client warrants that it will not deem the House Sitter unsuitable and then elect to independently engage with such House Sitter. Should the Client independently engage such House Sitter, it will be liable to the Company for the House Sitter Introduction Fee.

 

4.4  The Client shall pay the balance of the House Sitter Introduction Fee to the Company within seven (7) days calendar days of the Client:

(a) notifying the Company that the Client has engaged the House Sitter; or

(b) privately engages the House Sitter to House Sit the Client’s House in breach of these Terms.

 

4.5 The Company accepts payment by VISA and Mastercard through the housesitters.co.nz website and by direct credit to BNZ bank account 06-0193-0760021-00. When paying by direct debit please include Client name and reference number in the reference and code fields. ‘Non Negotiable’ cheques should be made out to “The Housesitting Company" and posted to:

The Housesitting Company

PO BOX 11205
Palm Beach
Papamoa 3151

New Zealand

 

4.6 The Company shall not refund the Deposit where the Client:

(a) engages the House Sitter privately in breach of the Terms;

(b) uses another agency for the House Sit; or

(c) finds a House Sitter privately; or

(d) cancels the House Sit (for any reason) regardless of whether or not the Client has notified the Company that the Client had engaged the House Sitter.

 

4.7 The Company may refund part of the House Sitter Introduction Fee (or any part thereof) where the Client cancels the House Sit after the commencement date or returns earlier than expected.

 

4.8 In the event that the Client engages the House Sitter privately in breach of the Terms, the Client shall immediately pay the Company the balance of the House Sitter Introduction Fee. The amount owing to the Company will be deemed to be liquidated damages recoverable in full at any tribunal or court of competent jurisdiction.

 

5. CARE OF PETS

 

5.1 Prior to the commencement date of the House Sit, the Client shall ensure that:

(a) House Sitter is advised in writing (to avoid any misunderstandings) of all the pet care requirements;

(b) arrangements for the payment of all food, grooming and other contingencies (including any routine or emergency vet visits) have been agreed directly with the House Sitter;

(c) the Client is fully satisfied that the House Sitter is a suitable person to take care of the Client’s pets.

 

5.2 The Company accepts no responsibility and/or liability in relation to the Client’s pets’ health care and/or associated costs and the Client acknowledges that the Company does not hold insurance in respect of any pet.

 

6. INSURANCE ARRANGEMENTS

 

6.1 Prior to the commencement date of the House Sit, the Client warrants that the Client:

(a) holds (or will effect) and maintain at the Client’s expense for the duration of the House Sit full replacement House and Contents Insurance (including any necessary pet insurance) with a reputable insurance company (“Client’s Insurance Policy”) and has notified the insurance company in relation to the House Sitter and the House Sit;

(b) ensure that the House Sitter is aware of the conditions of the Client’s Insurance Policies and agrees on the security arrangements directly with the House Sitter;

(c) will pay the insurance excess in relation to any claim made under the Client’s Insurance Policy.

 

6.2 Where the Client rents the House, the Tenant shall ensure that the Landlord has complied with clause 6.1(a).

 

6.3 The Company strongly recommends that the Client obtains pet insurance for the duration of the House Sit and notifies any such insurance company of the arrangement between the Client and the House Sitter.

 

The Company’s Insurance

 

6.4 The Company holds Public Liability Insurance up to the value of $2 million dollars (“Public Liability Insurance”).

 

6.5 The Client acknowledges and agrees that:

(a) the Public Liability Insurance covers the House Sitter in accordance with the Company’s insurance policies;

(b) the Public Liability Insurance does not cover the House Sitter for intentional damage;

(c) the Public Liability Insurance wording contains various exclusions. A copy of the wording is available to the Client on request;

(d) in the event that the House Sitter does not pay the insurance excess in a timely manner, the Company will be responsible for paying the insurance excess in relation to any claim made under the Public Liability Insurance ;

(e) to the fullest extent permitted by law, the Company does not accept any liability and/or responsibility for any direct or indirect damage, accident, injury and/or loss whatsoever caused by the acts or omissions of the House Sitter, the Client’s pets and/or the House Sitter’s authorised or unauthorised invitees;
(f) the Company assumes no responsibility for the performance and effectiveness of the Public Liability Insurance.

 

7. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

7.1 The Client acknowledges and agrees that the House Sitter’s contact details, profile and criminal record check are confidential information. The Client shall not disclose this information to any person (including any company) without first obtaining the Company’s written consent.

 

8. LIABILITY FOR HOUSE SITTER

 

8.1 Whilst the Company will take reasonable efforts as to the suitability of the potential House Sitters presented to the Client, the Client warrants that the Client has relied solely on the Client’s own judgement in relation to the selection and engagement of the House Sitter. Accordingly, the Client acknowledges and agrees that:

(a) to the fullest extent permitted by law, the Company does not accept any liability and/or responsibility for any direct or indirect damage, accident, injury and/or loss whatsoever caused by the acts or omissions of the House Sitter, the Client’s pets and/or the House Sitter’s authorised or unauthorised invitees;

(b) insofar as the Company and/or the House Sitter provides any personal information (e.g. the criminal record checks, referee checks), the Company shall have no liability for any loss damage whatsoever or cost related to the fact that such details are found to be incorrect or misleading; and

(c) that the Client is solely responsible any loss and/or damage if the Client leaves any money, securities, valuables, negotiable documents, confidential information and/or the like at the House during the Housesit.

 

9. CHANGES TO THE HOUSE SITTING ARRANGEMENT

 

9.1 If the Client wishes to change any booking or book a further House Sit the Client must deal directly with the Company and not the House Sitter.

 

10. CANCELLATION

 

10.1 The Company may (acting reasonably) terminate the House Sitting Service:

(a) by 48 hours written notice where the Client wishes to change the agreed booking dates and the House Sitter is unavailable;

(b) by 48 hours written notice to the Client where the House Sit does not match the Client’s original description and necessitates more time, special requirements, responsibilities, expertise or cost on the part of the House Sitter than has been agreed or is reasonable;

(c) by 24 hours written notice to the Client if there is a there is an adverse material change in the nature of the House Sit;

(d) if the Client breaches these Terms and does not rectify the breach, as notified in writing by the Company to the Client, within 48 hours. The Company may elect to terminate the House Sitting Services at the expiry of the 48 hours if the breach has not been rectified;

(e) immediately and without notice where the health and safety of the House Sitter is compromised due to the conditions of the House;

(f) immediately and without notice if the Client does not pay the balance of the House Sitter Introduction Fee to the Company prior to the House Sit commencement date.

 

10.2  In the event that the Company terminate the House Sit in accordance with these Terms, the Client shall have no claim whatsoever against the Company. The termination shall not affect any right or remedy to which the Company is entitled nor does it relieve the Client from its obligation to pay the House Sitting Introduction Fee.

 

11. PRIVACY ACT

 

11.1 The Company collects and stores personal information (e.g. name, address, phone number etc.) about the Client for the purpose of providing the House Sitting Services. The Company will take all reasonable steps to comply with the Privacy Act 1993 and the Company will not sell or disclose personal information to any third party (unless compelled to do so by law). The Client may request in writing to access any personal information held about the Client by the Company and the Client has the right to request the Company to correct such incorrect personal information.

 

11.2 Home Surveillance Equipment:

(a) Home owners hereby certify that no surveillance equipment will be present in private spaces while sitters are in residence. Such devices contravene the Privacy and Crimes Acts.

(b) The Homeowner agrees to declare all other types of home surveillance devices to applicants during the course of the selection and interview process (noting that applicants have every right to ask for these to be disabled or to refuse an assignment if they feel their privacy would be violated).

(c) If undeclared surveillance equipment is found to be operating while sitters are in residence, The Housesitting Company reserves the right to terminate the sit without any refund.

 

12. HEALTH AND SAFETY

 

12.1 The Client shall comply with Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, along with all applicable regulations, and take all reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of the House Sitter for the duration of the House Sit. Without limiting the general duty of care, the Client agrees to discuss any potential health and safety risks with the House Sitter prior to the House Sit commencement date and take all reasonable practical steps to either eliminate or minimise such risks.

 

12.2  In the event of the House Sitter having an accident, the Client shall immediately notify the Company and provide reasonable assistance to the Company in connection with any health and safety investigation by Worksafe (or its successor).

 

13. GENERAL

 

13.1 These terms and conditions constitute the entire agreement between the Company and the Client and it is expressly agreed that there are no other understanding, representation or warranties of any kind (express or implied) forming part of the Terms.

 

13.2 If any portion of these Terms is deemed to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect.

 

13.3 Any forbearance or delay by the Company in the enforcement of its rights or powers shall not constitute a waiver.

 

13.4 Nothing in these Terms and Conditions limits or negates the rights the Client may have under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 or any other statute.

 

13.5 The Client is only permitted to use the House Sitting Services if the Client can form a legally binding contract that is enforceable against the Client. The Client must be at least 18 years old.

 

13.6 The Company shall not be responsible to the Client for any delay or non-performance due to any causes beyond the reasonable control of the Company.

 

14. DEFINITIONS AND INTERPRETATION

 

14.1 In these Terms unless the context otherwise requires:

the Company” means to Sittersclub Ltd T/A The Housesitting Company;
the Client” means the person(s) who are the owners/tenants/licensees of the House;
House Sit” means the specified period of time when the House Sitter will be living in the Client’s home;
House Sitting Service” means the introductory service to connect the Client with potential House Sitters as set out at clause 2.1 of these Terms;
House Sitter Introduction Fee” means the fee payable by the Client to the Company for the House Sitting Service;
House Sitter” refers to the person introduced by the Company and whom the Client selects to House Sit;
House” refers to the dwelling (including the chattels, fixtures and the surround land which comprises the property) which is the subject of the House Sit;
Pet(s)” refers to the pet(s) identified by the Client on their Registration Form;
Registration Form” refers to the online form the Client filled out at housesitters.co.nz in order to request a House Sitter for their House Sit; and
Terms” means the terms and conditions contained in this document.
Utilities” include land rates, electricity, power, gas, water, telephone, internet usage, rubbish or garden waste removal, lawn-mowing and cleaning services.  

 

14.2 Clause and other headings are for ease of reference only and shall not be deemed to affect the interpretation of these Terms.

 

14.3 Words importing the singular shall include the plural and vice versa.