Housekeepers: Live in or Live out?

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Published on April 4, 2016

There are two types of Housekeepers.  Those who live in and those who live out.  The needs of the principal and the home will affect which of these two choices are more suitable. Ultimately it falls down to personal choice and lifestyle. But before you make your decision, consider the following…

1. Lifestyle

Do you travel frequently and do you leave your home unattended for large periods of time?

If you do then consider having a live in housekeeper. As not only can they do their daily duties, but they can also care for the house in your absence.  A home with someone living in it, will mean that it will function as a home when you need it to.  Often homes which are not lived in can develop problems. And by having a live in housekeeper they will keep on top of little niggles which can develop.  It also gives you peace of mind. Knowing that your home is cared for 24/7 when you are out of the country.

2. Space

If you have space within your home to offer a suitable living environment for your housekeeper. Then you can consider a live in housekeeper. If you don’t have space, you really can’t offer this accommodation.

This can be a private bedroom, bathroom, a floor of the house. Or even a basement apartment, an annex connected to the house or separate accommodation in the grounds.  If you live in a 2 bedroom apartment then it would be probably an unwise move to have a live in housekeeper as the candidate needs to have their own space as do you when you are in residence.

3. Hours

How much work do you have for a Housekeeper? If you require a full-time housekeeper then you can consider a live in housekeeper.  If you only want a part-time or less than 40/50 hours a week, then it’s probably wise to stick with a live out housekeeper as it would be unnecessary to offer accommodation as part of a package for only part time housework.

4. Candidate situation

Most of the time, your housekeeper candidates will have a preference as to if they want to live in or live out.  A live out Housekeeper will generally be married or have a family that they want to see on a regular basis.  A live in housekeeper may have family but in another country and often be single or without a partner.  This will mean they have the flexibility to live in.  A candidate who has recently re-located to the location, or is single will often be open to the idea of live in as it will mean they will not have to fork out for expensive rent or living costs outside of their income.

5. Package being offered

Candidates who are offered a live in situation will often have their salary adjusted to reflect the fact that the employer is offering them additional perks.  This includes accommodation and can also include food, a car, wifi, Sky TV, mobile phone, gym membership, health care etc.

Therefore sometimes clients who have ample space and ability to offer perks like this can pay a slightly lower weekly rate to their chosen housekeeper due to the fact that they are offering additional aspects of the package.  However, it’s worth bearing in mind, that top end housekeepers of the highest calibre will still expect a high salary on top of these additional perks offered with the live in placement.

6. Flexibility

This is something that the highest quality of housekeepers should offer, regardless if they are live in or live out.  However, the live in housekeeper can often be slightly more flexible than the live out housekeeper due to the fact that they live in or extremely close by the property.  It will mean if the principals requires additional hours or flexi-cover for some reason they can call on the Housekeeper to provide this.

A live out housekeeper may have a long commute or have less flexibility if they have to return to family so bear this in mind.  Take into account a live in housekeeper does not face a commute to get to work, and thus will generally always be on time. Live out Housekeepers will face the same issues with public transport strikes or bad weather conditions which could cause delays on their arrival time to the property. A good Housekeeper should always be flexible, regardless of the specifics of the role.

Ultimately both live in and live out housekeepers offer a different approach and it is down to the principal to decide which is best for their situation and family.  We are always happy to give general guidance or just have a chat if you require some extra support on making the decision.  Feel free to drop us a line today – we’d be delighted to help.


  1. Ken Hwan says:

    I totally agree with the point to have a live in housekeeper if they are working full time, especially if you have a big house and they might have to work overtime. My wife and I have a big family, and we are finding it hard to keep up with our kids messes! I will be sure to look into a housekeeper, and if they are full time they can live in our guest wing!

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