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AGREEMENT AND CONDITIONS FOR HOUSE SITTERS

 

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 provides an introductory service to connect house sitters with its Clients. The Company will put forward the House Sitter’s profile to various Clients (either in person or via the Company’s website), so that the Clients may consider engaging the House Sitter, on the terms of this Agreement. It is important that the House Sitter reads this Agreement carefully as:

 

(a) the House Sitter shall be deemed to have accepted this Agreement by registering with the Company. If the House Sitter does not accept this Agreement the House Sitter must not register as a house sitter with the Company; and

(b) the Company may vary this Agreement by giving the House Sitter thirty (30) calendar days notice by way of email and the House Sitter’s continued acceptance of House Sits will be deemed acceptance of any such variation. The House Sitter 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 this Agreement shall only apply where that variation has been expressly agreed in writing by the Company.

 

2.INTENTION AND RELATIONSHIP

 

2.1 The parties agree that the relationship between them involves an agreement for House Sitting Services and is not to be construed, in any event whatsoever, as being an employment relationship. The House Sitter agrees that no remuneration is payable to House Sitter in relation to any House Sit or House Sitting Services and the House Sitter is solely responsible for payment of all expenses (including excessive Utilities used during any House Sit) incurred in the course of any House Sit.

 

2.2 While the House Sitter and the Client may enter into a house sit agreement to set out the basis rights and obligations of the parties (e.g. payment of utilities, care of pets and guests etc.) the House Sitter shall not accept any private house sit arrangements from any of the Company’s Clients (i.e. all House Sits must be processed through the Company). For the avoidance of any doubt, the House Sitter shall not charge the Client any fee (monetary or otherwise) for any House Sit.

 

2.3 The House Sitter acknowledges that the Company is the owner of the House Sitting Services promoted by it. The goodwill of the House Sitting Services is and remains the sole property of the Company.

 

2.4 The House Sitter acknowledges that they shall not divulge directly or indirectly to any third party, information or documentation relating to the House Sitting Services or any information in relation to the processes or operations undertaken by the Company.

 

3. TERM AND HOUSE SITTING ASSIGNMENTS

 

3.1 The Company shall provide the introductory service to connect house sitters with its Clients for a period of one (1) year or until earlier termination in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.

 

3.2 If either party does not confirm in writing to the other that the Agreement is at an end at the end of the term and the House Sitter pays the membership fee (if applicable), then the Agreement will continue on a monthly basis which can be terminated upon either party giving to the other party five (5) days written notice. In all other respects the Agreement will continue on the same terms and condition (subject to any variation pursuant to clause 1.1(b)) as set out in this Agreement.

 

3.3 The Company shall contact the House Sitter to provide House Sitting Services for its Clients from time to time during the term of this Agreement. However, the Company does not guarantee the number of House Sits that the House Sitter will be provided during the term of this Agreement.

 

4. EXPENSES

 

4.1 For the avoidance of any doubt the House Sitter shall be solely responsible for payment of all expenses incurred in the course of any House Sit. The House Sitter and the Client shall use best endeavours to make an agreement directly in relation to the payment of the Utilities during the House Sit.

 

5. HOUSE SITTING S DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

5.1 The House Sitter must perform the following in relation to any House Sit:

 

(a) General: the House Sitter shall:

(i) provide the House Sitting Services for no fee in a professional manner using all reasonable care, attention and skill and so as to promote the reputation of the Company;

(ii) comply with all the Agreement of the house sitting agreement between the Client and the House Sitter and all other reasonable instructions from the Client in relation to the House Sit (e.g. watering plants, use of linen, mail, number of visitors allowed at the House, which bedroom to use etc.);
(iii)  comply with the terms of this Agreement; and

(iv) comply with all relevant laws applicable to the House Sit.

 

(b) Pets: the House Sitter shall:

(i) comply with the Client’s instructions in relation to the care of any pets;

(ii) comply with the duties and obligations as set out in full at clause 6;

(iii) not allow any animals (other than the Client’s Pets) to reside or stay at the House and/or within the boundary of the property.

 

(c) House: the House Sitter shall:

(i) occupy the House in a sensible and prudent manner (e.g. no parties) and not cause or permit the House to be used for any illegal purpose;

(ii) ensure that the House is secure and the alarm (if any) is activated at all times when the House Sitter is not occupying the House;

(iii) not cause or permit any interference with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of any other person residing in the neighbourhood;
(iv) not sub-let or otherwise part with possession of the House during the House Sit;
(v) not vacate the House for periods of more than 15 hours or more during the House Sit without obtaining the prior written consent from the Company or the Client;

 

(d) General House Keeping Obligations: the House Sitter shall:

(i) keep the House in a clean and tidy condition and maintain the House to the same standard (or better) as at the commencement date of the House Sit. This includes ensuring that the House (and in particular the bathrooms, kitchen and household appliances) are regularly cleaned to a high standard;

(ii) maintain a log of telephone messages and collect the Client’s mail in accordance with the Client’s instructions;

(iii) put out the rubbish/recycling on the designated collection day as required and bring the rubbish/recycling bins in off the street in a timely fashion;

 

(e) Emergency/Insurance Claim: In the case of an emergency which threatens the Client’s House and/or other property, the House Sitter shall:

(i) take all reasonable steps (without endangering themselves or others) to limit the damage to House (which includes the chattels, fixtures and fittings and the surrounding land which comprises the property) and/or any pets;

(ii) immediately contact the emergency services or veterinary services if required; and

(iii) the House Sitter shall immediately notify the Company and the Client as soon as the House Sitter becomes aware of any loss or damage for which an insurance claim may lie or in respect of which any insurance policy or cover is or might be affected;

 

(f) Miscellaneous: the House Sitter shall:

(i) not allow any other person to stay overnight at the House unless authorised by the Client in writing;

(ii) take all reasonable steps to notify the Client and the Company if an important event has occurred in relation to the House; and

(iii) not eat any of the Client’s food or use any other consumables unless otherwise authorised by the Client;

 

(g) Completion of House Sit: the House Sitter shall:

(i) return the keys, garage remote and other security devices and documents (if any) to the Client;

(ii) leave the House and take all the House Sitting ’s personal effects with them; and

(iii) leave the House in a clean and tidy condition to the same standard (or better) as at the commencement date of the House Sit and remove all rubbish generated by the House Sitter and his/her invitees.

 

6. CARE OF PETS

 

6.1 Prior to the commencement date of the House Sit, the House Sitter shall ensure that:

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

(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 Client.

 

 6.2 The Company accepts no responsibility and/or liability in relation to the Client’s pets’ health care and/or associated costs and is under no obligation to reimburse the House Sitter for any out of pocket expenses. 

 

7. CHANGES OF CIRCUMSTANCES

 

7.1 The House Sitter acknowledges that it is vital to the Company’s reputation and goodwill that the House Sitter does not cancel any House Sit without an exceptional reason. Accordingly, if the House Sitter wishes to cancel any House Sit the House Sitter shall immediately contact the Company, giving full reasons why the House Sitter is unable to do so. In such circumstances, the Company reserves the right to terminate the Agreement if no reasonable explanation is forthcoming.

 

8. MEMBERSHIP FEE

 

8.1 The House Sitter shall pay the Company the annual membership fee prior to the Company presenting the House Sitter’s profile to any Client.

 

8.2 The Company has made every effort to inform House Sitters of the personal requirements, vetting process and process for House Sit assignments prior to registration. The subscription fee is set at a value that enables us to cover House Sitter administration costs, including NZ Police checks. Therefore our general policy is not to refund subscriptions once House Sitters have made the commitment to begin the registration process. We will refund only under exceptional circumstances. For the absence of doubt the term ‘exceptional circumstances’ does not include:

(a) House Sitters changing their mind after they register

(b) Delayed processing of police checks (this is beyond our control, and any delay in police checks being completed does not preclude House Sitters applying for assignments)

(c) Absence of immediate House Sitting prospects. Home Owners typically organise House Sitters well in advance of when they plan to travel. House Sitters will have access to the best opportunities if they register well in advance of when they would like to sit.

In the event that The Company agrees that a refund is justified, we reserve the right to deduct any administration costs that we might have incurred from the refund amount.

 

8.3 Notwithstanding Clause 8.2, we will refund a subscription in full if there has been unreasonable delay on our part in completing the processing of a House Sitter registration.

 

9. POLICE CHECKS, REFERENCE CHECKS AND CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

 

9.1 The House Sitter hereby authorises the Company to undertake a police check and to contact the House Sitter’s referees.

 

9.2 The House Sitter must notify the Company in writing within two (2) working days of being convicted of any criminal conviction.

 

10. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

10.1 During the House Sit the House Sitter may be privy to personal and business information in relation to the Client. The House Sitter acknowledges and agrees that the Client’s contact details, business and personal affairs are confidential information. The House Sitter shall not disclose this information to any person (including any company) without first obtaining the Client’s written consent to be obtained via the Company.

 

11. INSURANCE, LIABILITY AND CLAIMS 

 

11.1 The Company holds Public Liability Insurance up to the value of $2 million dollars (“Public Liability Insurance”) and the Client warrants to the Company that full replacement House and Content Insurance (“Client’s Insurance Policies”) is in place for the duration of the House Sit.

 

11.2  The House Sitter shall immediately notify the Company as soon as the House Sitter becomes aware of any loss or damage for which a claim may lie or in respect of which any insurance policy or cover is or might be affected.

 

11.3  The House Sitter acknowledges and agrees that:

 (a) Client’s Insurance Policies: in relation to the Client’s Insurance Policies:

(i) the House Sitter shall 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 Client prior to the commencement date of the House Sit;

(ii) the House Sitter shall confirm with the Client that the Client has notified the insurance company in relation to the House Sitter and the House Sit prior to the commencement date of the House Sit; and
(iii) the Company assumes no responsibility for the performance and effectiveness of the Client’s Insurance Policy;

 

(b) Public Liability Insurance: the Public Liability Insurance:

(i) covers the House Sitter for accidental loss or damage to third party property only;

(ii) does not cover the House Sitter’s invitees;

(iii) does not cover the House Sitter for intentional damage;

(iv) wording contains various exclusions. A copy of the wording is available to the House Sitter on request;

(v) the Company assumes no responsibility for the performance and effectiveness of the Public Liability Insurance; and

(vi) if a claim is made under the Public Liability Insurance the House Sitter shall pay the excess of $500;

 

(c) 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 Client, House Sitter, the Client’s pets and/or the House Sitter’s authorised or unauthorised invitees; and

(d) that the House Sitter shall reimburse the Client (via the Company) for any damage or loss to the House (including the chattels, fixtures and fittings and other property owned by the Client) caused directly or indirectly by any act or omission of the House Sitter , the Client’s pets and/or the House Sitter ’s invitees.

 

11.4 The House Sitter acknowledges and agrees that it shall indemnify the Company against any loss, damage, expenses or other accident or incident to the House Sitter or the House Sitter’s invitee and that the House Sitter is responsible for any and all actions of the House Sitter’s invitee.  

 

11.5 The Company accepts no responsibility and/or liability in relation to the Client’s invitees and is under no obligation to insure the House Sitter for any invitees. 

 

12. RIGHT OF INSPECTION 

 

12.1 The Company and the Company’s employees, contractors and invites may at all reasonable times and after having given reasonable notice to the House Sitter (except in the case of emergency) inspect the condition of the House to ensure that the Company’s reputation for introducing quality house sitters is not jeopardized. 

 

13. TERMINATION 

 

13.1Subject to clause 13.2 and 13.3, either party may terminate this Agreement, without penalty or liability, by giving the other party five (5) working days prior notice in writing of termination (“Notice”). 

 

13.2 Notwithstanding clause 13.1, the House Sitter is not permitted to give Notice during any House Sit without the prior written consent of the Company. 

 

13.3 Notwithstanding clause 13.1, the Company shall at its option have the right to immediately terminate this Agreement upon any of the following events:

(a) the House Sitter commits a material breach (in the reasonable opinion of the Company) of these Terms;

(b) the conviction of the House Sitter of any criminal offence;

(c) any action by the House Sitter which in the reasonable opinion of the Company will damage the Company’s reputation;

(d) the repudiation or wilful abandonment of the duties and obligations of the House Sitter under this Agreement;

(e) where the House Sitter registers with the Company but fails to complete their online House Sitter profile within six (6) weeks.

 

13.4 Termination of this Agreement shall be without prejudice to the rights and obligations of the parties prior to termination. Termination shall also be without prejudice to any of the provisions of this Agreement which are expressed to survive termination.

 

14. PRIVACY

 

14.2 The Company collects and stores personal information (e.g. name, email address, phone number etc.) about the House Sitter 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 House Sitter may request in writing to access any personal information held about the House Sitter by the Company and the House Sitter has the right to request the Company to correct such incorrect personal information. The House Sitter acknowledges and agrees for the Company to publish some limited personal information on the Company’s website in order to facilitate the House Sitting Services.

 

15. WEBSITE

 

15.1  The House Sitter shall comply with the Agreement and the Company’s Website Policy.

 

15.2 The House Sitter acknowledges and agrees that it will keep their personal information relating to the Company’s website confidential (including without limitation any login name, password or similar such information and details). 

 

16. HEALTH AND SAFETY

 

16.1 The House Sitter shall comply with Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, along with all applicable regulations, and take all reasonable steps to ensure his/her health and safety during the House Sit.

 

16.2 The House Sitter shall enquire and discuss any potential health and safety risks with the Client prior to the commencement date of the House Sit and shall take all reasonable practical steps to protect him/herself and any invitees from any such risks.

 

16.3 In the event of the House Sitter having an accident, the House Sitter 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).

 

17. GENERAL

 

17.1 This Agreement 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.

 

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

 

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

 

17.4 Nothing in this Agreement and Conditions limits or negates the rights the Client may have under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 or any other statute.

 

17.5 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.

 

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

 

18. DEFINITIONS AND INTERPRETATION

 

18.1 In this Agreement unless the context otherwise requires:

Agreement” means this agreement and its conditions;
the Company” means to Strong Endeavours Limited 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 Services” means the services which the House Sitter provides to the Client and in particular the House Sitter’s duties and responsibilities set out at clause 5 of this Agreement;
House Sitter” refers to the person registered with the Company to provide the House Sitting Service pursuant to this Agreement;
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
Utilities” include land rates, electricity, power, gas, water, telephone, internet usage, rubbish or garden waste removal, lawn-mowing and cleaning services.  

 

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

 

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