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House sitting on 870 visa

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Hi , I know there is no temp visas getting granted at the moment however when they do eventually open we are looking at applying for 870 visa As this is temp visa and we would not be looking at buying a house until we eventually get our 143 visa . Has anybody become a house sitter , looking after owners home and pets for long term 6 - 12 months ? Are we legally allowed to do this on temp visa ? We would not be earning money as living in their home rent free . 

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I think you need to look into the visa definition of "not earning" more carefully.

It is sufficiently scoped to include not just actual money but also goods and services that would otherwise have a material value.

House-sitting where you get to live free in return for looking after the property and animals is a pseudo-employment and so would fail the employment test

 

You could stay with a relative under these situations as there is an arguable case that you aren't doing it for reward (just family good-spiritedness) but for a stranger it's employment with payment coming in the form of goods and services rather than cash

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I don't think house-sitting fails the employment test. You are not being employed.  You are renting the property, and you are doing chores in lieu of paying cash rent.   I know several people who have done it while on holidays here.  


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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If you undertake an activity that is 'usually renumerated' on a visa that does not have work rights you could be in trouble, even if you were not paid.


Westly Russell Registered Migration Agent 0316072 www.pinoyau.com

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Lots of people do this on tourist visas, enables a cheap holiday, there are sites to arrange it. Surely you are still going to be spending in the economy. But I’m no expert so...... However we have used house sitters who claim a means tested pension so would that not also mean that they would need to declare they’re living rent free therefore earning???
 

Just my thoughts and as I said I’m no migration agent ☺️

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2 hours ago, wrussell said:

If you undertake an activity that is 'usually renumerated' on a visa that does not have work rights you could be in trouble, even if you were not paid.

But house sitting is not usually remunerated.  The house sitters provide their labour in lieu of paying rent and there is no other payment.  As BusbyBoo says, it's most commonly used by holidaymakers.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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I have never sat a house and I do not know anyone who has.

I do know that mowing the lawn at the place you are living is ok, but mowing next door is not.


Westly Russell Registered Migration Agent 0316072 www.pinoyau.com

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1 hour ago, wrussell said:

I have never sat a house and I do not know anyone who has.

I do know that mowing the lawn at the place you are living is ok, but mowing next door is not.

If you mow the lawn, presumably you get paid?   House sitters do not usually get paid.  The usual arrangement is that they look after the house in return for being allowed to live in the house.

There are house sitting agencies, but they either facilitate the above arrangement, or they charge a fee for someone to look after the house but not live in it.

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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6 hours ago, wrussell said:

I have never sat a house and I do not know anyone who has.

I do know that mowing the lawn at the place you are living is ok, but mowing next door is not.

We have had house sitters for years, as pre covid we went to UK for 3 months every year, which is a bit long to leave the house empty. It’s quite normal here to have house sitters, and most are recommended by word of mouth, rather than using an agency. Both sides benefit, house sitters stay for free in a nice house, and we have peace of mind. We have everything organised, leave lists of workmen we use, and have never had a problem.

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39 minutes ago, wrussell said:

How you ever declared such an arrangement to immigration?

What would they declare? That they have guests in their house? No money changes hands.

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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49 minutes ago, wrussell said:

How you ever declared such an arrangement to immigration?

As Marisa says why would we? What has immigration got to do with us? We are residents, and someone who is also a resident  stays in our house for free, House sitting is a very normal thing here, better than leaving a house empty, that might attract the attention of burglaries, or have a catastrophic water leak for example, while empty.

Edited by ramot

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47 minutes ago, ramot said:

As Marisa says why would we? What has immigration got to do with us? We are residents, and someone who is also a resident  stays in our house for free, House sitting is a very normal thing here, better than leaving a house empty, that might attract the attention of burglaries, or have a catastrophic water leak for example, while empty.

That's the point I was trying to make. When an Australian resident house-sits for another Australian resident, no one declares anything to the taxman because no money has changed hands.  So I'm struggling to see why it would be different just because it's someone from overseas. 

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Payment in Kind is receipt of goods and services as payment instead of cash. Friends and relatives do it without thought but usually it is a favour and the recipient does not rely on the goods/service as part of their income.

In theory someone housesitting 'free' is actually receiving in kind the equivalent of the cost to rent the place furnished, plus any additional services. I can see how that might raise issues, particularly as professional house sitters exist and will provide a similar service for a fee. T x

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42 minutes ago, tea4too said:

Payment in Kind is receipt of goods and services as payment instead of cash. Friends and relatives do it without thought but usually it is a favour and the recipient does not rely on the goods/service as part of their income.

In theory someone housesitting 'free' is actually receiving in kind the equivalent of the cost to rent the place furnished, plus any additional services. I can see how that might raise issues, particularly as professional house sitters exist and will provide a similar service for a fee. T x

I think this is how Westly views it - although the great majority of house-sitters don't charge a fee for the service, there are a few professionals out there. 

No one on this thread is a tax expert so I don't think we can give a definitive answer.  I wonder what @Alan Collett thinks of it.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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https://www.ato.gov.au/law/view/document?docid=ITR/IT2167/nat/ato/00001

Thanks for the intro!

This Tax Ruling might help.

Best regards.


Managing Director, Go Matilda Visas - www.gomatilda.com

Registered Migration Agent Number 0102534; Registered Tax Agent (Australia)

Chartered Accountant (UK, and Australia)

T - 023 81 66 11 55 (UK) or 03 9935 2929 (Australia)

E - alan.collett@gomatilda.com and acollett@bdhtax.com

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Managing Director, Go Matilda Visas - www.gomatilda.com

Registered Migration Agent Number 0102534; Registered Tax Agent (Australia)

Chartered Accountant (UK, and Australia)

T - 023 81 66 11 55 (UK) or 03 9935 2929 (Australia)

E - alan.collett@gomatilda.com and acollett@bdhtax.com

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58 minutes ago, Alan Collett said:

https://www.ato.gov.au/law/view/document?docid=ITR/IT2167/nat/ato/00001

Thanks for the intro!

This Tax Ruling might help.

Best regards.

Thanks but these seem to relate to people being paid money to house-sit. 

Usually, no money changed hands. The sitter gets to live in the house while the owners are away to keep an eye on it. 


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Wasn’t this mainly around people on a tourist visa doing it? I’m sure that’s what wrussell was meaning as in would it be considered work which of course isn’t allowed. I reckon that could go either way as in theory you are doing something that could be a chargeable service.  Again when he mentioned immigration I think he was referring to someone turning up on a tourist visa and telling border force they are housesitting for the next few months. It makes sense that could be seen as being employed to look after a house but receiving lodging/electric/water rather than money for it. No idea myself but that’s how I read wrussells comments. 

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14 minutes ago, Tulip1 said:

Wasn’t this mainly around people on a tourist visa doing it? I’m sure that’s what wrussell was meaning as in would it be considered work which of course isn’t allowed. I reckon that could go either way as in theory you are doing something that could be a chargeable service.  Again when he mentioned immigration I think he was referring to someone turning up on a tourist visa and telling border force they are housesitting for the next few months. It makes sense that could be seen as being employed to look after a house but receiving lodging/electric/water rather than money for it. No idea myself but that’s how I read wrussells comments. 

I took it as a direct question to my post. I wouldn’t know if someone on an 870 would be in a different position to a resident.

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If Australian tax, employment, immigration law is anything like the UK's, meeting the requirements of one area of legislation will not necessarily have any relevance to another. As such whether tax is liable on notional income is possibly separate to whether an activity violates visa restrictions relating to employment. Either way I'd guess that professional advice would probably depend on individual circumstances. T x

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1 hour ago, ramot said:

I took it as a direct question to my post. I wouldn’t know if someone on an 870 would be in a different position to a resident.

It was posted after yours I see. Unless it meant if you use someone on a tourist/no work rights visa perhaps immigration would see it as you are offering them a job. I guess looking after someone’s house for 3 months and getting benefits for doing so would probably fall into the category. They are providing a service to you which would include upkeep/grass cutting etc and in turn they receive a package of free living/use for utilities etc. Having a nanny for three months to look after the baby would be against the law even if the only ‘pay’ they got was free lodgings.  I’d say looking after a house could be seen as the same.  I’m sure most would never even think about it but it’s probably right. 

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9 hours ago, Tulip1 said:

It was posted after yours I see. Unless it meant if you use someone on a tourist/no work rights visa perhaps immigration would see it as you are offering them a job. I guess looking after someone’s house for 3 months and getting benefits for doing so would probably fall into the category. They are providing a service to you which would include upkeep/grass cutting etc and in turn they receive a package of free living/use for utilities etc. Having a nanny for three months to look after the baby would be against the law even if the only ‘pay’ they got was free lodgings.  I’d say looking after a house could be seen as the same.  I’m sure most would never even think about it but it’s probably right. 

Well I shan’t let it worry me for a few years, as I won’t be flying overseas, for quite some time. There are more things to worry about than the ins and outs of house sitting.

ps we have cleaners and someone is paid as usual to keep the garden tidy and mow the grass, as it would be unkind to not employ them for 3 months.

Edited by ramot
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13 hours ago, Tulip1 said:

Wasn’t this mainly around people on a tourist visa doing it? I’m sure that’s what wrussell was meaning as in would it be considered work which of course isn’t allowed.

...but the fact is that hundreds of tourists do it every year (or used to before Covid!).  

It would be really interesting to find an ATO ruling, but there doesn't seem to be one which is truly relevant to normal house-sitting arrangemements, i.e. where the person lives in the house for a period and performs basic housekeeping tasks in lieu of paying rent. 


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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