Leave your house empty during the vacation period? A real puzzle! In addition to the idea that the home remains at the mercy of burglars, we must also think about plants, animals, etc. Maison à part suggests 9 solutions to keep your cocoon during your absence.
Whether it’s summer vacation or winter vacation, leaving with peace of mind is prepared in advance. Some only leave for a few days, others abandon their cozy nest for several weeks, but all are sore at the thought of leaving their home unattended for so long! The fear of burglary remains indeed important among the French.
To avoid going on vacation with a knot in your stomach, take a few simple precautions that will the impression that your home is always occupied, and which will deter burglars. Better yet: you can keep your house, by professionals or individuals. And, since you are never better served than by yourself, you can also use connected equipment to remotely monitor your home, or mimic your presence even when you are thousands of kilometers away.
A brief overview of the services to secure your home in your absence.
Use a security company
Professional security companies sometimes offer contracts for individuals. Thus, if you leave your accommodation empty during your vacation, you can subscribe to a monitoring service from your house or apartment. In most cases, you will be able to choose between several offers:
- regular visits to your home, to give the impression that the house is occupied (opening shutters, collecting mail, etc.);
- patrols outside the house only;
- or even “interventions on alarm”, that is to say in the event of triggering of an alarm system installed in your home.
Advantages : You do call for professionals, trained and equipped for this type of activity. In the event of a serious problem, they are able to react as best they can. Also, seeing uniformed officers lurking around your home should deter the more reckless burglars.
The inconvenients : The price! Security companies generally work for companies, and those that agree to guard private property charge a high price …
Use personal service companies
During the year, you call on a professional for cleaning, gardening or maintenance of your swimming pool. Why not continue during your vacation? Personal service companies offer regular visits to your accommodation in your absence, to continue to support the house and to supervise it.
Professionals can do the housework or take care of pets, for a fee. To water the plants, plan three to four passages per week and around fifty euros. You can also use their service to feed and care for an animal, with two or three visits per day.
Advantages : Your home, pool or garden continues to be maintained in your absence. You will therefore find your home as clean as a new penny on your return. You are also guaranteed to be covered by the company’s civil liability in the event of a problem. Finally, you leave without leaving your home to strangers.
The inconvenients : The price, even if it is possible to apply a significant tax reduction (50% of the sums paid can be deducted from income tax, up to a limit of € 6,000 per year, with some ceilings depending on the activities). Finally, the accommodation is not monitored continuously but on an ad hoc basis, sometimes only once a week if the employee comes to take care of the household only.
Call the police or the gendarmerie
Once again this year, the Holiday Tranquility operation was renewed by the Ministry of the Interior. Fill out a special form, to be handed over to the gendarmerie or the police headquarters in your place of residence. Parisians even have the possibility to register online, via the Service-public.fr site.
During your absence, municipal police officers or gendarmes will carry out “frequent visits to your home” as part of their regular patrols. An operation supposed to deter burglars, and which especially allows to quickly report a break-in in a home or business. To find out more about the operation, contact the town hall of your place of residence.
Advantages : It’s a free operation! All you have to do is complete and return the form, in order to notify the police sufficiently in advance. You thus benefit from the help of the best civil protection professionals to monitor your accommodation.
The inconvenients : The police and gendarmes are content to walk past or around your house, not enter it. We will have to find another solution to water the plants and feed the animals …
Entrust your house to seniors
More and more organizations are offering put owners and individuals in touch, ready to come and settle in your home during your absence. Most often, these are retired seniors who can no longer afford to go on vacation. In return, they take care of routine maintenance, but also animals, plants, the garden, the swimming pool, etc. In short, an exchange of good practices.
Unlike the previous solution, “home-sitting”, as it is called, is a volunteer babysitting mode (even if the intermediary agency between owners and caretakers may charge you fees). The people who watch your home are therefore not professionals, and therefore cannot be considered as such.
Advantages : The caretakers take care of your home and its occupants. So the solution is ideal if you have animals or plants. The guards do not receive any salary, but the intermediary companies can collect fees (count 60 to 100 € for a weekend).
The inconvenients : Even if they are harmless retirees, it is not always easy to open your door to strangers, especially without any guarantee of their intentions! It is therefore preferable to use an intermediary company, which gives the guards a civil liability guarantee. Also remember to set the list of services requested (cleaning, garden maintenance, etc.) so that the caretakers do not think they are … on vacation!
Profit from home exchange
Much like babysitting, home swapping is a great way to make sure your home won’t be left empty during the summer weeks. Specialized sites bring together families who want to travel inexpensively. Each will stay in the other’s house, sometimes thousands of kilometers away, for an equivalent period of time.
It is also possible to carry out this exchange on staggered periods: the English family stays with you during the two weeks of your vacation, and you will enjoy their home for two other weeks, when they themselves are away.
Very trendy in recent years, this concept of barter nevertheless has flaws. It is not always easy to find people interested in your accommodation if it is small, poorly located or poorly equipped.
Advantages : This idea costs absolutely nothing, except sometimes the price of the ad posted on the site. It is also easier to trust strangers when you are yourself in their own home!
The inconvenients : It is not always easy to find the ideal exchange, on the right dates and in a place that suits you. You also have to agree on the terms: no pets, no smoking house, etc.
And if you can’t keep your house …
If, despite our advice, you cannot find the ideal solution to have your home guarded during your vacation, here are some alternatives:
- Call on a loved one or a neighbor: a trusted person can come and take care of the plants and animals. The neighbor will keep an eye on the comings and goings, and will be able to collect your mail so as not to leave any clue about your absence.
- Use a paid individual: many advertisements offer a home security service. These are often individuals who ask for remuneration, against a few hours of cleaning or maintenance of the garden. At your veterinarian, you will also find advertisements offering to take care of your pet at home, sometimes on a voluntary basis. Be careful, however, not to give your key to just anyone! Write a formal contract, and find out as much as possible about the person chosen.
- Set up simple rules so that you don’t let it be seen that your home is unoccupied: set up a timer that turns the light or radio on and off from time to time, leave some clothes hanging out or a bag of dry garbage (cardboard, paper) in front of the door, forward your mail to your vacation spot, etc.
- Equip your home with a home automation system : a box connected to a camera, intrusion detectors, an alarm, all connected and usable remotely via your smartphone. Some models even offer presence scenarios: your shutters are raised in the morning, the lights on in the evening, to give …