Builders around

I am interested to know what other sitters might think of these situations and if it would affect any pet sitting insurance regarding a dog being injured on site.

  1. After a tentative enquiry of a potential sit, I try to arrange where I can and if local to do an assessment visit.

I am recently finding farmhouse property types and grounds/forecourt in dissaray and under complete renovation not mentioned in our conversations prior to the visit.
Major building work going on so lots of very large, potentially hazardous machinery in the forecourt right next to the house. The owners just point out that they are having ‘some’ work done and it wont be a problem!
Some dogs are just allowed to roam around outside all day and are ‘fine’ and apparantly ‘get on with the builders’

When I ask about scafolding/machinery dangers and noise from the work being so close to the house (sometimes the whole roof being reroofed while I am there) I am told it will be ok and it couldnt be arranged at any other time!
As I work remotely part time I am very concious of loud or repetative, banging noises and how it will affect my very sensitive calls.

Where do I stand on this from an insurance point of view?
Obviously I use common sense and do a risk assessment and 9 times out of 10 decline the sit but there have been particular ones I have agreed to because the owner has said the work will have stopped by the time of the sit.
Of course it hasnt, and the work is continuing.
I then get a message a week before or even days before the sit, warning me of this!

As the owners are travelling abroad I can hardly then, let them down and cancel the sit at the last minute so it leaves me in a really tricky predicament.

In the middle of one sit with a very young, highly nervous and anxious dog, scafolders turned up out of the blue and completely unexpectedly, banging on the door and announcing they had arrived as agreed with the owner to put scafolding around the entire farmhouse and that the roofer would be turning up another day.
As the HO had told me this wouldnt be happening until the day I left I was more than surprised and taken aback.

In that case I turned them away after speaking to the owner who apologised and kindly rang the builders himself
But if I hadnt strongly resisted, 4 blokes would have just arrived and carried on!

Its a good job I hadnt gone out that morning or left the nervous dog alone in the house.

When I pointed out that their work would highly disturb the anxious dog and could be a danger to the dogs safety, they just said
“oh its ok we like dogs, it wont be a problem”!

Would appreciate your thoughts please.

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It actually goes against THS T&Cs to have third parties on site while a sitter is present. So all of these sits you are doing with builders around are violating the rules, and you are absolutely within your rights to cancel and direct them to the policies that they should have read and have implicitly agreed to by using this service.

This is especially true if they didn’t tell you about any building works or if they said the works would be completed before you arrived or not started before you left.

It drives me crazy when I hear sitters say they don’t want to let a homeowner down when they are the ones violating the policy and putting you in a bad situation. They do not seem to mind that they are putting you in a bad situation, but you are supposed to feel bad about standing up for yourself? I don’t think so.

As far as insurance goes, the homeowner would have to take up any damages done to their pets or property with their own homeowners insurance or with the insurance they get through THS. As having third parties on site is a violation of the rules, I don’t know how much recourse they might have if something happened. I surely don’t think you would be held responsible for something that happened in a scenario you were unaware of and didn’t agree with. There will likely be someone else in here who can expound on the insurance issue more, but this is just my thinking.

Sorry you are dealing with this!


Hi @Julie123 we’re sorry that you’ve encountered these issues, in order to get the help and information you need please connect with the Membership Services Team who are available to help advise and who have access to the information of all members involved in any individual sit arrangement.

You can reach them via the Help Centre or

Thank you I agree entirely and appreciate your comments. Its what I thought and makes sense.
I dont want to be held responsible for any accidents happening or put any pets in my care in any dangerous situations.
I wonder how many HO’s read the T & C’s though?

@Julie123 it definitely pays to read them as they have been revised recently. Not sure if it has always been the case but
there is a clause (as I understand it) that if a pet needs veterinary treatment on your watch you should ask the owners permission first and pay for the treatment (if an account is not set up). Sitters can then request reimbursement from the owner within 14 days.
Personally I am not willing or able to pay for expensive vet bills in the hope I get repaid so I hope I am never put in that position.

That’s interesting @Twitcher - we’ve just had the is there a vet account/pay for it ourselves discussion and unknowingly told the HO that they needed to sort the finance and/or pay the vet from overseas. We didn’t know that the Ts & Cs say sitters should pay and then ask for reimbursement. Don’t like that policy at all (or think it’s fair) vet bills as we all know, can be astronomical. And @Julie123 you sound like you’ve been more than accommodating, hopefully support will help fix the situation.


:100:% agree. Yes, we’d be within our rights to leave! It’s disappointing when you’ve made plans to enjoy some peace and quiet, or to work, write, make calls… and this becomes impossible when the HO doesn’t keep up the expectations on their side of the agreement.

I would let the HO know that I would not be staying. They could either come up with another caretaker, put me up at a pet-friendly hotel/rental/etc. for overnight accommodations, or if the sit was local, that I could take the pets to my home and charge a boarding fee, since the circumstances now fell outside the scope of a TH sit.

This actually happened to me once, (landlord of the housesuddenly wanted to work on the place and told me I had to be gone between 8am and 6pm) The HO arranged for an Airbnb. I brought the pets there and in the end it worked out… But I was furious at the time!

Definitely not enough based on the number of posts I see about third party policies, profiles with no photos, indoor and outdoor cameras, etc etc.
But their inability to do their due diligence falls under the category of “Not my problem.”

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“It actually goes against THS T&Cs to have third parties on site while a sitter is present. So all of these sits you are doing with builders around are violating the rules, and you are absolutely within your rights to cancel and direct them to the policies that they should have read and have implicitly agreed to by using this service.”

I had no idea about this! We recently had a sit where there were TWO lots of builders and an Air B n B on site and cleaners and it drove us mad!

Welcome @MamaOwl.
Yes strictly the rules are no third party people within the property during your sit. I find HO’s will ask about cleaners (I’ve been asked a few times) and I’ve ok’d it. But it’s your choice.

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