Airbnb Responsibilities & Drop-in House Sits

I’ve just found yet another of these ads , see below, where a home owner is asking for the sitter to look after her Air B&B. How on earth do these get through as advertisements?

‘‘If you are willing to host self-contained Airbnb’s that would be a bonus’’.

Please report them. It’s beyond ridiculous that they even mention it. Especially since having outsiders there is against the terms of service.

Have done so. But I see lots of these ads. If they are long standing, existing HOs then apparently the ad slips through. But this HO is advertising for the very first time.

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The home-owner’s listing is checked before it goes live the first time (and which would hopefully pick this up). If the home-owner then re-edits, it’s not checked again.

There seems to be quite a lot of this in both old and newer posts. Maybe there should be some kind of random audit %. So every new listing gets checked but then also a % of random edited listings get checked too just to make sure things are staying clean after their initial submission. It would help catch old listings with bad pics and descriptions too.

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Come see my cunning suggestion:

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I didn’t know this was a no-no, and to be honest, I’m not sure why? So long as the sitters agree to do it, what does it matter? Most sitters won’t be willing but some might.

To be clear, I’m talking about totally self-contained units that may be on the property, but not within the home where the sitter is living.

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Why not filter/block/blacklist unwanted words, e.g. Airbnb. Admin will get a ping as soon as the blacklisted word enters a database

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Where do you draw the line though? The current set up is an exchange - care of home and pets in exchange for living at said home, ideally with some free time to do their own thing.

At one point does ‘helping out’ become ‘exploitative labour’? What happens if the guest/business has a problem and the sitter is landed with solving it? What about any liabilities for injury or damage?

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It’s not exploitive if the sitter doesn’t mind doing it. There’s no pressure being used. You don’t apply if you don’t want to do it. I’ve seen sits where the owners have a holiday let or a gite on the property. Sometimes, it’s a note to let sitters know that there may be guests on the property, sometimes they ask if the sitters can greet them and let them in etc. Rarely do they ask sitters to do a changeover but I have seen it. I didn’t apply for them, but I may not mind letting people in if I was asked to and if it was a perfect sit for me in every other way. If there was a problem, generally, the home owner has set up mechanisms for dealing with that, or you ensure they do. And if you’re worried about liability, you ensure the home owner has insurance, which they normally do. Or you don’t apply.

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I’d always be worried about the Air B&B person interpreting something I, as the house sitter, MIGHT say to them, in such a way that the Air BandB person did something or failed to do something. ‘Health and Safety’, etc etc. They could claim, as could the HO, that the sitter, knowing the AirBandB existed and was occupied, should have or should not have done something. Insurance policies come to mind …

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Ketch, my point exactly.

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Thanks @LTD for reporting - I’ve replied to your message. We have passed this over to the listings team to check - it may be that it was edited after approval as mentioned by @Ketch . However, very occasionally things do slip through - there are a lot of new team members being trained at the moment so it might just be a genuine mistake.

Make sure they have insurance if you’re worried about it. Or don’t apply. I travel with Liability insurance.

I’ll be interested in seeing what THS policy is on this. IMO, it should be categorized under “sitter/owner” agreement. Some sits are a lot of work, others are not. Let sitters make the decision on how much work they want to do.

Fine, until a house sitter has an accident or some calamity / loss and makes a claim against THS that the site itself should not have allowed an ad where the sitter is expected to take responsibility for a business (Air BndB) whilst on the sit.
The bottom line is, THS rules are that the sitter should not be expected to undertake any level of business enterprise whilst on the sit. That is not what we are signing up for.

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If that’s what THS rules are, I think that’s fair. I just haven’t seen it in writing anywhere, but I see in Vanessa’s post above that she has accepted the report, so then we all should abide by it.

We have seen a few of these listings, but not that many. We have also seen a sit once where the HO offered the sitter a cut of the earnings (which seems fair since you’re operating a business on their behalf).

That is literally work. The homeowner/Airbnb host is earning taxable income. Anyone tasked with related duties needs to be paid and issued a 1099 (in the US). The HO must also have active workers’ compensation insurance etc.

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Running an airbnb, especially if you’re receiving compensation (which you absolutely should as you’re doing work that earns the HOs money) could turn into issues for international sitters as you’d be working illegally. For foreigners, sitting can be a grey area in some countries (though blatantly illegal in some, like the UK). Actually working and receiving compensation is no longer grey, it’s illegal everywhere unless you have legal ability to work in that country.

It’s also a slippery slope as HOs can misrepresent the level of effort involved. I did a sit once where the HO started running their house as an Airbnb AFTER I accepted the sit and didn’t tell me until after arriving. It was one of many lies they told.

They were adamant that it was super easy and talked me into trying it for one weekend just to see how easy it would be. I did it because I’d literally just flown to the opposite side of the planet to do this sit and had no alternative plans prepared. It was a NIGHTMARE.

They’d rented rooms out to a group and they were getting ready to party and kept tripping the breakers. I had to keep resetting everything, finding them stuff in a house I’d just arrived in, they kept entering my personal bedroom without permission or even knocking, I was expected to share my bathroom, and one of them ran into the gate at the entrance with their car, knocking it off the rails, so I had to deal with that.

They also messed with the animals. The HO had a VERY old cat that basically just laid in her bed on the porch under the table and napped. The guests took it upon themselves to move all of the porch furniture elsewhere and tossed the cat’s bed into the garden. I had to go search for her under the bushes and I moved her to another area with her bed that was away from them.

The last straw was that when I woke in the morning, I found that I was padlocked into my section of the house and I had no way to get out. One of the guests (who wasn’t even supposed to be in that area of the house) had locked me in and taken the key. If there had been a fire, I would have had to jump out of an upstairs window to escape. I had to stand on my balcony and yell until one of the guests heard me and came and let me out. For this the HO “generously” offered me $5/day compensation for checking people in and out.

So no. Hard pass on any mention of airbnb or similar because it’s always fine until it’s not and then it can be a freaking nightmare and YOU have to deal with it.

I ended up leaving this sit due to the massive misrepresentation by the HOs and they were banned from the platform, but it was a big struggle for a while and a lot of he said/she said. Thankfully I had copies of text conversations with them outlining all of the problems that were happening and discussing all of the things that were misrepresented and the site handled it quickly and well once I was able to provide proof.

ETA: thankfully something to this extreme is so rare that it’s barely worth considering and it wasn’t the fault of THS, by any means. But I hear too many airbnb horror stories to want to take that burden on. It’s just too high risk. Some of the stories I’ve heard would make your hair curl.

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I agree with you. THS has guidelines not rules. If the sitter is comfortable doing these things then why not? It becomes a problem when the pet owner adds on responsibilities when the sit has been already agreed. There has to be full disclosure by both parties before the formal agreement.
If you don’t want to help run an Airbnb or any of the other requests a pet owner may ask jog on by. It’s a paradise for sitters at the moment. So much to chose from.

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