A TEACHER from Portsmouth has been ranked as one of the most popular housesitters in the world.
Richard Howard has earned 40 five-star ratings, putting him in the highest demand on house sitting website, TrustedHousesitters.com, which has more than 300,000 people registered on it.
People use the site to find someone to look after their home, and their pets, in exchange for a free stay.
The 57-year-old’s popularity has seen him so in demand, that he’s been able to put his teaching career on hold.
He has his pick of global destinations, but with his love of cycling and medieval architecture, said he favours housesits in the UK and Ireland.
Richard said: ‘My first housesit was probably my craziest. It was for 15 cats in Brighton, some of which were feral and lived outdoors.’
The most magnificent house sit Richard has ever done was a Grade I-listed house that a former monarch used as a party residence by the sea. He is currently at a house in Lancashire, caring for chickens and a parrot.
Richard has been so in demand since he started house sitting that he has lived full-time as a house sitter for four years, sitting for free each time and using savings from his years spent teaching to get around by train and bike.
In between housesits, Richard returns to his home in Southsea, but it is never long before home owners approach him. As well as being honest, honourable and loving pets, Richard’s other tip for being a successful house sitter is to leave each property in the very best condition.
‘I have my mother’s voice at the back of my head, reminding me to not leave a mess,’ he said. ‘I don’t have to, but I do a deep clean of everything before I go.
‘I enjoy the responsibly of taking care of someone’s home but I enjoy moving onto the next adventure.’