A task exchange homeshare arrangement is a great solution for housemates who are looking to share a home for mutual benefit and who can help a householder (the person who owns the home) with household support. Examples of household support include tasks like laundry, mowing the lawn, light housekeeping, and some meal prep.
In lieu of rent, householders receive companionship and approximately ten hours per week of household support. This living arrangement is a win-win for both householder and housemate but requires clear expectations and a balanced approach to work well.
Sometimes householders can expect too much, or their expectations and needs can increase over time. If that happens, the housemate may become over-burdened or experience a decreased sense of satisfaction with the living arrangement. In this case, it's important for the housemate to have an open, honest conversation with their householder about how they're feeling.
Here are some signs that a task exchange is becoming too much:
1. Tasks That Go Above and Beyond
It's important that the householder and housemate clearly outline the quantity and type of tasks that are to be done in lieu of rent as part of their HomeShare Agreement. Housemates who regularly perform tasks outside of this agreement are going above and beyond. If you find yourself in this situation, know that it's okay to pull back. Not saying anything about doing more than your fair share can cause feelings of resentment and burn out.
2. Too Much Time
Are you regularly spending more time on household support than what was agreed upon in your HomeShare Agreement? If so, consider initiating a conversation with the householder to discuss your concerns and realign expectations.
3. Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Some people hope that a task exchange will provide support for an elderly family member. While this may work, as the family member ages, their needs may change, and a Personal Support Worker (PSW) may be more appropriate to provide the help needed. Are you being asked to do things that you're not comfortable with or that are beyond your expertise? Monitoring health, attending to personal care, etc. is outside the scope of a task exchange.
4. Lack of Work-Life Balance
Many housemates work full time jobs and are still able to participate in a task exchange home share arrangement. Consider that in lieu of rent, you are required to provide the agreed upon hours per week (usually ten), and being unable to do so because of your job, or other personal commitments means that you're not fulfilling your end of the agreement. If you find that your task exchange is getting in the way of work or your personal life, then you may have taken on too much.
5. You Don't Enjoy It Anymore
Homesharing is a lifestyle choice, and it's a lifestyle that should be enjoyable! If your arrangement feels more like a second job, or if for any other reason you're not enjoying it, then talk to the householder right way. Having an open, honest discussion about your happiness is important because happiness is contagious! Your sense of happiness will certainly have an affect on those you're living with.
Do you have any questions about navigating the ins and outs of homesharing? Give the experts at HomeShare Alliance a call! We're here to help you throughout all aspects of your homesharing journey.