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Au pairs' expectations of accommodation

(22 Posts)
Mendi Mon 24-Jun-13 13:41:07

I realise it is probably normal for the AP to have the smallest room, but how small is too small?

We are moving soon and will need an AP. The spare room in the house we are considering offering on is small - if you put a single bed in it and a chest of drawers, there wouldn't be room for much else.

Obviously I realise any AP will always prefer more space, but would it be completely unrealistic to expect to get one with this as her room?

In all other respects the property is nice, quiet area but close to town, bus stops etc. I would expect to pay about £80 a week for 20 hours (Surrey).

Is room size a deal breaker?

lovelynannytobe Mon 24-Jun-13 14:02:49

I would take some photos of the room and be clear about the size right at the beginning so that if it is a problem for her/him they won't apply. I used to live with my brother who is 3 years younger than me so when I was looking for an au pair job (when I was 20 ... 10+ years ago) having my own room was a bonus ... no matter how small.

lovelynannytobe Mon 24-Jun-13 14:06:44

Ps ... make sure there is enough storage ... living from a suitcase for longer than a few days won't be nice for her/him. Maybe consider one of those high sleeper beds where you get some space underneath to put a chest of drawers or even a low wardrobe and a smallish armchair.

fedupwithdeployment Mon 24-Jun-13 14:17:38

The AP should have a desk so as to be able to do English homework etc. If not enough space in the room, you will need to let him / her use the dining room table. Make it clear that you have thought about this.

As another option, in our previous house, one of the bedrooms was tiny - DS2 had it, and the AP had the second biggest room. She had to move out when the PILs came to stay. Would moving the children or a child into that room be an option?

scrummummy Mon 24-Jun-13 14:38:48

Interesting question OP. I also would be interested others views. We are going currently looking for an au pair and I'm wondering the same. We have 2 rooms to choose from a box room that can take a single bed nothing else, TV on window sill right next to our room (currently used as play room) or a room downstairs (currently my husbands office/study) it was the old kitchen, I measured last night it can take a single bed width ways and have chest of drawers has inbuilt cupboard as a wardrobe and room for bookcases/bedside tables. but it is next to the kitchen and has access from both walls and a very small window looking out onto a fence.
sorry for hijack

Why not try a cabin bed with drawers under you can also get some nice ones with slide out desks as well.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Jun-13 15:01:38

Our AP has the biggest room in the of the reasons is that we want to be on the same floor as the children and also we wanted her to have enough room to watch a film with a friend up there, host the odd visitor, etc which she does. As opposed to us hiding up in the loft when we wanted private time (and seeming v unfriendly) or having to negotiate whether we were watching Twlight part 12 or BBC 4 after a long day at work night after night...

If you give her the smallest room and it is VERY small you have to consider how you feel about pretty much continuous sharing of other parts of the house with her. Also, she does need a desk as someone else said or a dedicated space elsewhere in the house to work.

Do you have any other options in terms of space?

sweetsummerlove Mon 24-Jun-13 17:32:14

fedup- you kicked au pair our of her room when inlaws stayed? ! unbelievable.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 24-Jun-13 17:54:19

We have done this once, although I agree it's something to be avoided generally.

In our case we would have had nine people sharing a floor and one bathroom while the au pair had a floor and bathroom all to herself. They were travelling from So Amer at massive expense and it was only for a few days they were with us. But this was really an exception.

Mendi Mon 24-Jun-13 19:46:18

Hmmm, perhaps it's just not the house for us then. I am a single parent so I'm not at all bothered about the AP being around the house in evenings and weekends, and there is a dining room with table she could work at. But if she would hate a small room then I think there's no real way round that.

fedupwithdeployment Tue 25-Jun-13 00:10:09

I don't think it was particularly unbelievable. Pils stayed maybe one weekend per year, and ap had a big room with big double bed. Plenty of notice and moved to DS room... ds moved to share with me and DH. The words "kicked out" are a bit emotive. I asked if she would mind and she said no she didn't. If one lived in a mansion this wouldn't happen but I didn't, so regrettably it happened.

To put this into context, recently we had friends staying and I put them in our room. DH away. I left AP in his room and shared bunk with DS. Not much fun.

Jude89 Tue 25-Jun-13 10:45:34

I also cannot believe you asked your Au Pair to move out her room for your PIL! Of course they said they didn't mind, you're their boss!

Smallest room is fine so long as s/he knows what they're getting and is welcome to the rest of the house, (no "you must be in your room when not working" clauses!)

BerkshireMum Tue 25-Jun-13 11:50:42

Our au pairs have a very small room. It's never been an issue - although we are very upfront about it. There is a single bed under the window which is the entire width of the room. There's a small bedside table, a "pop-up" style wardrobe covered by a fabric curtain and, on the other wall, a thin cupboard with a mirror over.

We make it clear they are welcome to be wherever in the house they want when they're off duty. We have a wall-mount TV/DVD player in their bedroom to avoid disagreements about the main TV channel mind you! We also store their suitcase in the loft and make sure there's plenty of space in the (shared) bathroom for toiletries etc.

Cheerymum Tue 25-Jun-13 11:57:07

Our au pair has a double bedroom with an ensuite ... I would offer a double if at all possible - they are adults, and most adults prefer a double bed. I personally wouldn't feel it was ok for an au pair to have a smaller room than eg a young child. I guess as others have said, the key is being clear in your advert what is on offer, and sharing the rest of the house space with them (regardless of their room size, they are supposed to be treated as a family member, aren't they?)

forevergreek Tue 25-Jun-13 20:03:27

I don't think the smallest really works or is fair. It's better putting child in there

It's not that you haven't offered the whole house etc but sometimes it's nice for everyone not to always have to be together. Sunday morning for example you might want to breakfast early with family whilst they sleep. Then by the time they come down its lunch/ family over/ kitchen full as your baking with kids etc..

I always think its nice they have enough room for a kettle/ toaster Maybe so can at least make an early cup of tea/ coffee in privacy in whatever they wear to bed ( or don't wear). If space a mini fridge for say cold drinks/ choc etc.
Then as others say a desk for studying.
Most would be much happier being able to wake, make drink in privacy, start studying etc without having to see anyone every day.

At very min a bed, desk, clothes storage, bedside table/ shelf

Many people do offer less but those au pairs don't seem to stay. In the other direction as an au pair years ago myself I had a 2 bed basement flat with kitchen/ bathroom/ living room/ seperate entry, plus use of main house. Hence you can have smaller but really need to appeal so people don't just head to larger places

Mendi Tue 25-Jun-13 22:00:47

Gosh Forevergreek, you must be in a different salary bracket to most, or far from the Home Counties. What you describe is what I would quite fancy as a B&B for myself for a weekend's rest! Surely this isn't what's needed to get an AP to stay? I was (perhaps naively?) hoping that use of car (in own time too), free run of house, no weekend babysitting ever, and £80 for 20 hours a week would be ok.

forevergreek Tue 25-Jun-13 22:52:22

That was years ago in Germany. Think equivalent of £300 a month

Mendi Wed 26-Jun-13 08:20:44

Well £80 a week does work out at about £350 a month...

forevergreek Wed 26-Jun-13 09:32:03

I'm sure it's fine, I'm just mentioning that there are/ were placements offering higher everything ie better accomadation/ less hours/ more pay. So if you ate low on certain aspects ie room size, then maybe need to add benefits in another way. Like I say I was probably quiet lucky but I did search for a while. £300 isn't much now but remember this was a long time ago when many full time employers earnt that in the uk.

I would say £90, and add gym membership or something do they have some other space elsewhere.


Cheerymum Wed 26-Jun-13 14:55:34

I think £80 per week for 20 hours is probably fine - put up your ad and see who applies. If you don't like the number/calibre, increase it. What will the work intensity be like? From what I gather, 1-2 children and not being expected to do much cleaning (other than eg keeping kitchen/surfaces clean) is also preferable. Also if you expect them already to be fluent in English, that will reduce the pool to select from.

Mendi Wed 26-Jun-13 20:41:49

I'm going to take forevergreek as a lone voice as everything I've read on AP threads suggests £80 a week plus use of car (second car just for her) is on the generous side.

It will just be 4-7pm weekdays, so actually more like 15 hours a week, but very occasionally I might want a mid-week babysitting night so would advertise it as 20 hours. No housework expected other than obvious tidying as she goes along, e.g. if she eats off a plate, wash it and put it away.

I would love this job if I were looking for an AP role, I see stuff on here with employers living in the arse end of beyond, no transport for AP, paying £70 a week for 30 hours, expecting loads of housework... And they obviously find APs... So I thought a small room would really be the only downside of my proposal. There's no way I can pay more than £80 a week for 3 hours' after school childcare. And if I could justify a gym membership, I'd have one myself! So I'll look for another house with a bigger fourth room.

mikulkin Sun 30-Jun-13 02:10:04

Then it is actually £80 for 15 hours plus 1-2 babysitting evenings. babysitting is counted on top of usual hours. taking into account that you don't require weekend babysitting this is very good. People usually pay 80 for 25 plus occasional weekend babysitting so I would say you compensate for small room by paying well.
I think forevergreek is really a lone voice. Our au pair gets £80 for 25 hours plus 2 evenings for babysitting. She does have though quite large room and her own bathroom plus access to gym but we live in central london. She is very happy, this is our second one, the first one stayed for 1,5 years, this one is planning to stay second year with us.

Mendi Sun 30-Jun-13 05:37:04

Thanks mikulkin, I have decided to go for that house but give DD the small room. So now just need to find an AP! We need one over 25 so I can insure her to drive (essential for school run). Am going to put an ad on AP World today...

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