Asked to sign detailed House sitting agreement?

@pietkuip . I’m very guilty of never reading the small print.

Thank you for the tag @Silversitters :slight_smile:

@Chrissie This sounds very strange as THS does not send out the agreement form to members, it’s an old resource on the platform that owners could utilise and then send to their sitters.

Feel free to DM me a screenshot of the email you received and I can assist you further :slight_smile:

I will catch up with the Product team as they did not give me a definitive answer if it would be removed or not and let you all know.

Just for reassurance as others have mentioned, I’ve never had it sent to me by an owner in over 25 sits, but it is an interesting topic to follow up with and see if it will be removed in the future.

Thank you :smiling_face:

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Count me in as a homeowner who has an agreement that we ALL sign. It’s mentioned up front in our listing, and we send it to our selected sitter for their approval BEFORE we offer them the sit, and ask if they would like anything modified. So far, no one’s asked for any changes. They don’t need to sign it until they arrive because it’s not something intended to bind them to the sit, but merely to spell out expectations on both sides during the sit. We’ve had a number of wonderful sitters, all of whom have been comfortable with signing the agreement. A number of the issues you see posted here on the forum could probably be avoided if everyone did this. You may think we’re unreasonable, but that’s OK if you don’t apply for our sits. We’re not even close to the folks who post a zillion “Don’t touch this!” notes around the house. In fact, a lot of what our agreement provides is a list of all the stuff that the sitters ARE allowed to do and use so that they’re not left wondering. We tell them smoking is prohibited on the property. We tell them that we’re fine with them drinking alcohol in moderation, but that they need to provide their own and not drink ours (I think that’s reasonable). We tell them that we need to know about additional guests ahead of time. We promise to reimburse them for any expenses they incur in maintaining the property (e.g., if something breaks in the irrigation system) or taking care of our cat, and promise to provide all food and supplies for the care of the cat. For the sake of Florida tenant laws, we make it clear that it is not a rental/tenant relationship. We also provide contact information for our neighbors and tell them that we’re OK with them occasionally turning over one or both daily feedings to them with advance notice if the neighbors are available to take over (allowing the sitter to take a day trip once in a while). We also offer that if we need to return at an earlier date for some reason, that they are welcome to remain as our guests for the rest of the agreed upon dates. I see a number of complaints here on the forum, from both sitters and homeowners, that could possibly have been avoided by setting clear expectations in a document that everyone signs (which usually means they’ll also read it thoroughly). You can certainly take exception to ridiculous expectations in an agreement, but you may find that having agreement is not a terrible thing in and of itself, and may even make a sit a lot more comfortable. We also provide a separate welcome guide and a “Fun Things to Do Nearby” guide.

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I only saw one once also. It was from somebody new to Trusted Housesitters. They werre under the impression it was something they needed to do, as was pushed by TH at the time. I sat for them a second time and they did not bother. No other sits ever bothered with it.

@SiobhanFL I don’t take offence with any of your points, they all seem realistic and reasonable, except if you return early, sitters can remain your guests - is that with you in your house? That’s not really on. Very few people would like to share the home with the owners for more than a handover night. So in essence you are making it very hard for sitters- they likely won’t want to share but can’t tell you that to your face, risking a poor review, and then sitters have to shelve out money for emergency accommodation due to your early return.

Hopefully it doesn’t come to this, but still, if you were fair, you would give them the option: either stay on as your guests, or you could reimburse their accommodation up to $xx per night in the off chance that you might need to return early. At least this would put them on equal footing.


Oh, I don’t know. My hosts went on a camping trip, and it was raining a lot. So I felt sorry for them and told them that I would understand if they wanted to return earlier.

But they answered that they were British, they would carry on :slight_smile:


This would put me off any sit, that a host even raises this possibility.


@SiobhanFL your ‘contract’ sets out what any decent sitter / respectful adult human being would do anyway, so if you choose your sitter wisely, check reviews and have a video chat prior to confirming, why do you feel the need to detail expectations and responsibilities to the nth degree? It denotes a lack of trust and and I dont see how it can possibly provide you with any more protection. What will you do, if a sitter deviates from your agreement? The section regarding potential early return is self-serving and against THS guidelines; if hosts return earlier than the agreed sit date they greatly inconvenience most sitters.


@SiobhanFL Most of this is just normal stuff that would go in the welcome guide. I don’t understand the need to put it in a contract.

I would not stay in the house with you if you came back early. Coming back early is breaking the agreement and a violation of the T&Cs. Shortening the sit like that should only be done in an emergency. It’s no different than the sitter having to leave a few days early due to an emergency. The fact that you put it in there as if it’s not an issue would put me off the sit. Having to change my work schedule at the last minute to accommodate HOs just deciding to return days early is a problem.

Another issue is expecting the sitter to pay for maintenance issues that come up. Why wouldn’t you just make payment arrangements rather than expecting the sitter to pay and hope for reimbursement?

I’ve done almost 40 sits and the vast majority have been absolutely wonderful. I’ve never been asked to sign a contract. It would feel very much like the HO is starting from a position of distrust and also views the sit as an employer/employee relationship rather than an exchange of equals.


Trying to please some of you seems close to impossible, but fortunately I don’t have to worry about that. We always end up with high quality sitters who come in a day early, get to know us, and pretty much end up as friends. I realize that some of you have wham-bam sits in which you don’t get to know the homeowners at all, others have sleeping/living arrangements that would not work well with the homeowners there, and obviously some of the homeowners are very unreasonable. I feel like we’re not, as we go out of our way to try to make the sitters feel comfortable. Obviously we’d make maintenance payment arrangements if something needed to be fixed if at all possible, but we want our sitters to feel comfortable that should something occur like a plumbing emergency and we were in a place with no cell service and they were unable to get ahold of us, they could proceed with getting help and not have to worry about getting paid back. Stuff like this is in there in case of “outliers.” We do have payment arrangements ahead with our vet, but there’s no way we could anticipate ALL the possible services that could be needed regarding our property and make financial arrangements ahead of time just in case we weren’t available. We would never cut a vacation short unless there was something like an emergency with our pet (we enjoy our vacations way too much to do that!), and so our offer to stay until the agreed close date, if the sitter wants to, would allow the sitter to not have to pack up and head to a hotel for a couple of days if they felt comfortable staying. I think a hotel is covered in our Premium Plan if they’d prefer to do that… we just have that offer out there (which will hopefully never be needed) to make things easier for the sitter. They have their own bedroom and bath at the other end of the house, and like I said, they’ve already spent a day with us to know if they’re comfortable with us. I run stuff like this past my daughter first, who’s been involved with TH for years as a sitter. What would happen if someone didn’t follow something in our agreement? Legally, probably nothing unless there was something like malicious damage, which would obviously be pursued whether there was an agreement or not. However, it would be hard for someone to say that a less than stellar review was unjustified because we “never told them” something if it’s in the agreement they signed. Fortunately, we’ve always attracted excellent sitters and have had a nice relationship with them. And that’s OK if our sits don’t appeal to everyone. You do you.

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I reached out here for advise from other sitters on this platform like yourself as I really didn’t know if I was reading much into the conditions of this contract. and in reality it wasn’t a red flag and my trip would go as planned,…But, instead my gut feelings were validated over and over and I realized that I needed to send a polite response asap to #1 Express the lack of trust I felt as I read their “contract” #2. explain that I’d reached out to other sitters here for their advice … which was to definately cancel …#3. Express my sincere appologily for having to cancel . the week before, but that this contract had been just suddenly requested , giving us little time to choose options. and more…
I honestly hate to cancel as i have work events scheduled and this sit was perfect in location and everything else .
Great news though!!
The homeowner owner immeadiately replied to my message both by email and text . He genuinely appologized explaining that he had just assumed this kind of contract( which he had copied off internet, was needed . He assured me they wanted me to sit fir them as they trusted me and chose me above all other applicants for many reasons… He told me rhe contract was not important to him and continued to appologize for making me feel as if canceling was my only option. I gave his sincerity and everything else my thoughts overnight and chose to continue with plans . I arrived for this 7 week sit 2 days ago and am sooo thankful I “used my voice” when I felt uncomfortable with the last min contract. I feel like by being understanding of the homeowners explination and feeling the sincerity in everything he shared , I was able to make the choice to continue with this sit. And I’m sooo happy I did. This homeowner left an amazingly detailed Welcome guide, detailed feeding instructions and a seperate "personality and suggestions for each animal and went above and beyond to have everything I couod possibly need to have an amazing sit.
Definately not the outcome I expected when I asked this question … And I love haveing such a positive outcome to such a negative situation!


Great news @Betsysmom !! :star_struck::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::star_struck:
Enjoy your sit!

A sit in Germany 2018. HO asked us to sign the THS agreement. They said it was in case the authorities knocked on the door asking us why we were there. :woman_shrugging: Other than that, Im thinking its not a legal document?