Companion Housing is a great way to get extra help around the house, making it easier to remain living in your home. While housing companions are expected to clean up after themselves and contribute towards normal household chores, offering a rent exchange can help you get extra support.
This arrangement is most common with older adults needing some help to age in place or for busy families wanting some extra help around the home. Rent exchange is NOT a replacement for professional services, home care, or nursing support. However, rent exchange can supplement professional services, which will reduce your overall costs and likely provide a higher level of support.
How does it work?
You can provide credit towards monthly rent for every hour of extra help your housing companion provides.
Accountability: One of the most commonly reported problems with task exchange is housing companions not completing their tasks on time or consistently. This is usually associated with poor communication and making assumptions that they know how to do the task. If a person does not feel comfortable doing a task or does not know how to do it, they are unlikely to do it well or even at all. Spend some time to give them some training on how you want the task done; this will greatly increase their self-confidence. For tasks, you should communicate verbally on the task you want to be completed, when you want it completed, and how you want it to be done.
Here is an example of a task you can ask of your housing companion:
“Could you walk the dog for me Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5pm and feed him dinner afterwards? Here is where I keep his leash and poop bags. We normally go for one loop around the park, but you can go further if you like. Here is where I keep the food, give him one scoop and make sure the water bowl is full. He is good with other dogs, but please keep him on the leash at all times.”