• Help yourself to the television. If you're going to be there a while, it's reasonable you'll have some downtime to watch your homeowner's TV.
• Don't mess with the DVR settings. Goes without saying. Your traveling homeowners are probably looking forward to coming home to the Top Chef finale and episodes of Walking Dead. If you change or cancel those recordings—say, to watch something else at the same time—that's not cool, man.
• Don't order any movies or premium channels. Unless you have prior explicit permission from the homeowner, don't hit "Buy" on any movies or pay-per-view specials. Even if you intend to pay them back for the $5.99 new release you caught on demand, it might hit their credit card or cable bill right away.
• Ask the homeowner to set you up with a guest account. If you're reading this in advance of your house sitting stay, this is the way to go. Ask the homeowner for permission to use their computer using a guest account with web access.
• Ask for the WiFi password. This is another safe plan. Use your own laptop to get online with your homeowner's WiFi. Just keep your online activities to the legal kind.
• If you don't have permission, don't touch it. We know this is kind of a harsh rule, but if you haven't talked over computer access with your homeowner, it's the safest way to go. Even if their laptop isn't password-protected, it's still a bit of a privacy breech to begin using their machine and surfing the web. Those awkward saved searches just pop up, don't they?
MORE ON HOUSE SITTING FROM APARTMENT THERAPY:
• Etiquette at Home: Leaving a Space How You Found It
• Lessons Learned from House & Dog Sitting
• Tips & Tricks: Coming Home to Happy Pets & Plants
• How to: Prep for a House Sitter