Is House Sitting Sub-Leasing?

April 2023

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Can You Have a House Sitter in a Rented Property?

There are many advantages to engaging the services of a house sitter when you go on holiday, but is it considered sub-leasing under the law? Here’s what you need to consider before you book your sitters.

 

Is it considered Sub-Leasing if You Are Paying For House Sitting Services? 

If you are paying someone to stay in your property while you are on holiday it would not be considered sub-leasing, but it is parting with possession of the property for a period and would likely need owner approval. It would only be considered sub-leasing if you were to move out of the property and the house sitter was to stay on and take over the tenancy. 

 

Is it Okay to Have a House Sitter if You Are Not Paying Them? 

Even if you are not paying your house sitters, you are still parting with possession of the property so it would be prudent to notify your landlord or property manager before booking your house sitters. 

 

Are Tenants and House Sitters Responsible for any Damage? 

Changes to the law in recent years mean tenants have some liability when causing damage to a property and this extends to house sitters or friends of the tenants causing damage. Find out more in our article Do Tenants Need Their Own Insurance?  

 

Who is Responsible for Maintenance of a Rental Property? 

Landlords and tenants share maintenance responsibilities for rental properties, and your house sitters may need to be aware of these responsibilities if you are away for an extended period. 

Take a look at our article Who is Responsible for Maintenance and Repairs in a Rental Property? 

 

When does house sitting become sub-letting?   

As with all things, should an issue ever become a Tenancy Tribunal matter, the decision will come down to the individual circumstances. If you’re on holiday and have asked someone to stay and look after your pets and plants, that’s house sitting; if you’ve moved your furniture out and knock whenever you come back to visit, that’s probably sub-letting. Let common sense be your guide!

   

When should you tell your Landlord you have House Sitters? 

Either way, whenever you are parting with possession of your property it is a good idea to notify your landlord or property manager – just in case there is an emergency while you’re away and either your house sitter needs to contact the owner, or they need to speak to the occupant.  There may be requirements that need to be fulfilled for the purposes of the landlord’s insurance policy. These vary widely depending on the policy, but could include the need for a reference check, photo identification or notice in writing. Even if you are leaving the house empty for more than three weeks you should let your landlord know as this may affect their insurance policy.  

It’s good practice to notify your landlord or property manager of the dates you’ll be away and how they can get hold of you in the case of an emergency. If you do have house sitters, ensure they have contact details for your landlord or property manager. 

 

Have further questions? Contact the helpful Crockers Property Management team at pm@crockers.co.nz or call for a chat on 09 623 5952. 

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