Good morning and thanks for all responses, so my neighbor who was to retire this year informed me that she has accepted a position in New Jersey for the next 2 yrs, FYI I have always did walk abouts and gotten her mail as she has always worked out of town, but she was always home on weekends and I never had a key. So she has asked me to house sit (daily visits), I'm a little overwhelmed right now and cannot think of all the things I need to know, like where the water shut off value is, the fuse box, contact name and phone # in case of a emergency, flush toilets daily, run tap faucets daily etc..., now she did tell me she has a grass cutter coming in but nothing about a gardener, she lives on 1 acre of land with lots of flower and veggie gardens, it cannot look like no one lives there I plan on speaking with the lawn guy to work on this (I live in chronic pain and other issues I can't do this type of work), anything you can think of that I should discuss with her before she leaves on Sunday, and as well no mention of the monetary value of this service was mentioned but she did ask my hubby if 50 dollars was enough to pay for the lawn service using her equipment??? I do not even know how to politely ask her intentions, as family/friends say that 2yrs is a long time to expect someone to tend to your home for free, I am not looking for a lot just something in good faith? As well I have never charged her for looking out for her home (last 3 yrs) as I felt it was the neighborly thing to do. I feel this is a major responsibilty. All ideas are welcomed and appreciated, thanks again. Bunz (:
It's up to you, but you need to really think this is over before you commit to it. Are you willing to do it at all? Making a DAILY visit to someone else's place, neighbor or not, is a big commitment. What if you want to go out of town, get sick, the weather is horrible, you get really busy, whatever. Would you be more willing to do it if the neighbor did something in return for you e.g. paid you, let you use the property. What if something goes wrong - assume she is shutting off the water and thinking about issues if the property freezes - but other stuff can happen like a fire starting or a gas leak that can be a big problem, or someone could break in between your daily rounds. It sounds like she is leaving tomorrow but you should be clear if you don't want to make this commitment or if you want something in return. Hopefully she has told her insurance agent that the property is empty because if she leaves that detail out, it could affect her ability to collect on any claims. I wish you luck, but don't let yourself be bullied into a long term commitment to something you don't want to do. Given the short notice, you could offer to do it for a month and after that she has to get someone else.
The Following User Says Thank You to captainmal For This Useful Post: bunz50 (02-24-2013)
It seems like your name should be honeybunz!
What a sweetheart you are! It's wonderful of you to do what you can to be neighborly, doing some house sitting and all!
I hope you will keep in mind that what she is asking now is not at all house sitting. What she is requesting is called Property Management. To look after property for longer than a few days is a Legal Commitment that requires more than an oral agreement or a few words on a paper. To protect you or anyone that helped you, an agreement MUST be reviewed and drawn up by your own attorney (not by hers!).
I am also disabled, though I can shop for myself and look after my home, and work a little...and I believe what she wants is too much to deal with for a person with the disability you described. That you check on things for her occasionally as a neighborly thing to do is not at all what is needed in regard to extended absence.
I would not get involved unless I had legal advice and consulted an attorney and have a legal document drawn up and signed by each of you, including your husband or anyone else that might help you do this!!!!! A legal document must state in detail what you are required to do, and detail that you are not in any manner responsible for any cost or problem that might arise from her absense...none whatsoever, and that she alone is responsible for any cost. Because believe me, if there were even a robbery you would get held accountable for not properly securing the place.
And, if her property was not exactly as she expected you would be held legally responsible, and even if you were absolved of any wrong doing, it would cost you extensive attorney fees.
I don't know if you are, but if you are on SSI or SSDI, anything you get paid MUST be reported as income...not so much if she gave a few dollars now and then, but to take on property management for two years or get paid anything substantial, if you don't report it then she takes you to court because she doesn't like what happened to her property, even if she found dirt on her floor, it easily can come back to bite you later.
You probably can find an attorney to get a free consultation, by calling around and saying you are considering managing someone 's property while she is away for two years and you want to know what legal documents would be needed. From there you can tell right away if you are seriously interested in it or not.
Your neighbor is just looking after her own interests, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is up to you to look after your own best interest, too. It's wonderful to be as kind as you are. It is equally wonderful for you to also have healthy boundaries and not let others take advantage of your generosity or allow yourself to be drawn into a legal bind.
It seems highly presumptive for her to take a job without arranging to pay an accredited Property Manager...someone whose business is to oversee hired workers and care-take property. Believe me that kind of work requires an extensive legal document to absolve you of any responsibility if anything goes wrong.
Let us know how this goes sweetheart!!
Last edited by jillian4; 02-23-2013 at 01:56 PM.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to jillian4 For This Useful Post: bunz50 (02-24-2013), chiavet (04-07-2013)
Hello Jill and thank-you very much for the compliment and your response!! Well my husband and I after serious discussions with our neighbor(there were 4 other people there as witnesses) about the responsibility and any legalities of doing this have agreed to a trial run, we will converse via phone with our neighbor weekly and if I feel I cannot do this then we know of a couple of people(2 of the witnesses) that would do a good job and not take advantage of her. Neighbor knows my health issues and she understands completely with no issue. I just can't turn my back, she is recently widowed, her son works/lives in China and her daughter lives in Boston and she has no other family/friends here. Now you may think I am nuts, but no conversation about being paid came up, now having said this I truly believe that my neighbor will do something or give me something in return, that is just her nature and culture, she knows no one does anything for free. This is fine as I am in Canada and yes on CPP-Disability, and I know I can earn so much monthly but I would rather not get into that, then they may (CPP) start thinking I can return to the work force and in reality I could not. Just hoping I haven't bitten off more than I can chew, but feeling better since we spoke and laid the cards on the table about any issues, and like I said I have the choice to back out at anytime now thanks to 2 good friends. We live in a small rural community and everyone pitches in to help each other I guess and I feel its the right thing to do at least right now.
Thanks again Holy Moly!!
Oh by the way did you study law by chance as some things you said made sense hence the reason for the big discussion!
Last edited by Administrator; 06-14-2013 at 08:58 AM.
If you are going away for any length of time, it is statistically much safer to leave your home occupied, rather than empty. Many homes left empty for over 30 days are not insured, and the practical consideration of upkeep means that an empty home can look blatantly empty after little time, therefore attracting burglars.
Thank-you for your responses, I do have some great news to share, my neighbor called yesterday and advised her son will be coming back from China at the end of the month and is going to move into her home, so this is great as he will tend to the house at least until the end of summer, as well he is discussing a relocate with his employer so that he may be able to live here for the 2nd year and when his work requires him to be out of town I will go back to doing the neighborly thing lol. As well the neighbor will be home in the late summer early fall for a month, so this job is not so bad or as overwhelming with insurance issues/worries and things you all pointed out I/we did not think of, thanks again
Honeybunz, you are more than welcome! It's wonderfull to have great, reliable neighbors like yourself and the others. Would that more neighborhoods were like yours.
I haven't formally studied law, but I do research laws in general, just from seeing or hearing of the complications from not knowing the law. I think your decision how to be involved and the back up neighbors was very practical.
And look how it turned out so wonderfully, and you showed yourself to be the great neighbor you are, too.
I'm very happy for you all! Thanks for giving us an update!