Retirees are boosting their pensions by working as professional house-sitters.
Pensioners can pocket as much as £29 a day keeping a watchful eye on people’s property and caring for their pets.
Clive Noble, 72, and wife Yolande, 67, have made hundreds of pounds a year staying in empty care homes, bungalows and even a Gothic property rumoured to have belonged to the Marquess of Queensbury.
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And Portsmouth-based House and Home Sitters pays an average of £20 a day. Trusted Housesitters will not pay you a fee. Instead members pay £89 a year and in return can stay in properties in 130 countries across the world.
Experts recommend keeping the owner’s mobile number close to hand, requesting a spare set of keys, keeping information about the surrounding area and contact details of someone local, in case of an emergency.
You should also ask for a copy of their home insurance policy. And you should double-check the house-sitting firm has insurance in place in the event that something goes wrong.
Housesitters Ltd, for example, will cover you for up to £10million if you are injured on a job.
You should also check your own home insurance policy as some insurers will only allow you to leave your property empty for a few weeks at a time.
Ryan Fulthorpe, of comparison site GoCompare, says: ‘It’s important to agree all responsibilities you will be expected to undertake.
‘This includes financial responsibilities, bills, deliveries and whether you’ll have access to a vehicle, WiFi and landline.
‘If you’re expected to look after any pets, it’s crucial you check with the owner they have a suitable level of pet insurance in place, should there be any unforeseen emergency veterinary care required.’
Sue Cabrelli, 70, from Loughborough, Leicestershire, has been a house-sitter for ten years.
She was devastated when a Labrador she was caring for died after suffering a heart attack.
She says: ‘Looking after someone else’s beloved pet is quite a lot of responsibility.
‘Older ones may have health problems and you are in charge of their medication.’