Conclusion Of Pausing Application Test - Updated Post

Dear Pet Friends,

we are a house-sitting couple with THS for four years now and (as many of you did) we started to notice something is wrong with the application process; seemingly fewer sits, fewer sitters applications, low quality sits, re-occurring sits marked as ‘new’ even though already seen the week before, sits in wrong order…even after selecting new sits, older ones appeared mixed within etc…

Here is the reason why:

You may or may not have been aware, that TrustedHousesitters has limited the number of house-sit applications to 5 per listing. This creates distress on both sides, for us as house-sitters as well as for house-owners, as we heard from several sides. Once a house-owner reaches 5 applicants, the system automatically takes the listing off the selection. Only when the house-owner declines one of the 5 applicants, the listing appears again as ‘new’, allowing one more application (this continues until the house-owner is happy with an applicant). This is tedious for house-owners (loosing unnecessary time) and for house-sitters frustrating (not being able to detect listings in time before they are paused).

Please let us know below, if you have issues with this problem in response

If someone from THS is reading this, please read our letter below and adapt your services to all our needs, if you are a member, please share it with the THS team, so we can have our wonderfully functioning THS platform back. There are enough new house sits out there for everybody, if only the house-owners could decide, when to put their listing on pause.

Dear TH-Team
We love your service but lately things have become less user friendly. We just heard you are limiting the number of applications to 5 per house-sit. This creates distress on both sides:

  1. House-sitters; When looking for a house-sit from a place with limited Wi-Fi access or having long work hours, they aren’t able to see all new house-sits before listings are switched to ‘reviewing’ within a very short time. This can be extremely difficult to get hold of a matching date in time.
  • House sit listings are not long enough online to be seen by all members in their own time
  • The daily ‘new’ listings are swamped with reappearing old offers, marked as ‘new’
  • Listing display is confusing & time is lost by scrolling through previously seen offers
  1. House-Owner; it hinders them getting suitable matches for their pets. Due to the short application window, house-sitters seem to place quick applications without reading the needs of the house-owners properly, which leaves the house-owners with a too narrow choice of suitable applicants.
  • Too small choice of applicants (due to many of them being unsuitable)
  • Having to decline an applicant (thereby reactivating their offer as ‘new’) and waiting for one new applicant to appear; repeated until a match is found
  • Choice of applicant due to time pressure & lack of choice, rather than being convinced
  • Creates more work
  • Draws out the closure time to finalize a suitable house-sitter

It doesn’t mean, if house-sitters are having fewer options, or are shown old listings as ‘new’ repeatedly they would then apply to a less desired house-sit (wrong Date, Location, Pets, Experience) – if it doesn’t fit it doesn’t fit!

If a house-sit has many applicants it also doesn’t mean these house-sitters are ‘taken’. The same house-sitters should be able to apply for OTHER house-sits. This gives more chance of a house-owner to find the suitable applicant; and more chance for the house-sitter to find a sit for their desired times (unrestricted for everyone)

One can clearly see that these new measures create stress for both sides; house-sitters and house-owners alike and limits a positive outcome.

Hopefully you consider putting it back as it was with an open unlimited application window.

Thank you


After the five application limit was introduced, we were assured that if you had an application open and were filling it in at the time, it would be submitted, even if the five limit had been reached. So I was shocked minutes ago to have written a thoughtful application on the mobile app, and when I pressed Submit, got a message that the sit had reached five applications and mine would not be sent through. I was so surprised, that by the time I went to take a screen shot, the message (and my email) were gone.

It’s bad enough that we couldn’t even get to one of our favourite sits in Europe for Christmas because they all closed while we were sleeping, so we finally stayed home. This behaviour is just an added insult to the whole 5-application process.

I’ve pressed the Help button on the main dashboard of the desktop site to chat with someone directly, and it’s now been spinning for 10 minutes. So reaching out here seems to be my only option. Help Desk, please respond.


I actually came on here to find out when this 5 application limit came into effect! and have now been reading about all the frustration surrounding the new process. It was a huge surprise to us as we are having such a hard time now applying “on time” to sits that appeal to us. I would love to know the reasoning behind the magic 5 #? I totally understand that owners were sometimes inundated with applications but 5 seems so low. We too have lost out on opportunities because of time differences and not even knowing about a house sit while we slept!


@Reliablesitter I agree. If TH want to introduce such a horrid system as the five ruling, it needs to be fair on both sides. If they are limiting sitters opportunities they need to limit homeowners also.


I read a post recently from a host who said there post had 5 sitters reply then get an automatic ‘sitters being reviewed’ added to their post. I was not aware of this before! Unless you sit on the computer all day and get in fast I think it is unfair that only 5 replies are accepted before being blocked!


It might be helpful if THS actually explained how they benefit from the 5 application rule given that the majority of sitters and owners find it very unhelpful.


@Liffy99 Moderators say that it’s only a small minority that are saying it has negatively impacted them and that those in favor of it don’t want to post about it. The help desk replies with how this has been positive , overall , for members. They tout it’s great success. I would like to see a poll/survey asking , straight away , if the change is liked by members. I’d really like to know.


I feel your pain. I’m quite perturbed about this 5 application max. I really hope THS reconsiders this policy.


Surveys are going out atm. I filled mine in today. It doesn’t specifically mention the pausing limit bit there is plenty of opportunity to express your opinion and feelings. Quite therapeutic really. Although I have sore thumbs!


I had not realised that there now was a five applicant limit but feel this is far too restrictive. I have frequently been offered a sit when there have been 7 - 11 applicants or more. And I once missed out when an owner had over fifty applicants. I was one of the l.ast to apply, as only just spotted it. However a couple of months later when they needed a sitter again they contacted me first rather than open to all on the site again. They could not face another fifty plus. But there are all sorts of reasons why none of a mere five would be suitable. Not fit enough for powerful dog. Difficult as wanting to fly in from abroad, or a young single person living not far away, who they are afraid may want a party, especially if over New Year. It really is far too restrictive and definitely needs a rethink.


Newby question relative to the 5-application limit. I’m curious whether the system would allow a rapid one-line application to be then enhanced with more info?

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Hi @LosGatos, yes, you can say anything in your first reply.
The overall issue is that after five replies the system shuts down anyone else from applying, and removes the sit from view. Last week I watched two sits in popular destinations actually get five replies in under five minutes, then the sit disappeared.
So if you are like us, who enjoy exploring new parts of the world based on what sits come up, this has 100% upended our selection process. To see everything there is no way to work, or sleep, and the site needs to be refreshed every few minutes.


@Karen_E , thank you. I have not heard from anyone yet.

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Yes, let’s see some evidence about the 5 limit . . . .


Getting my reply in before this discussion gets moved to the closed thread.

Yes, we need a user survey that directly addresses the 5-applicant limit!!!

THS keeps on claiming that most members like the 5-applicant limit, and that the only reason that we don’t see any positive responses on the forum is that this silent majority are all too intimidated to post.

Frankly, I don’t think those of us who do post are all that scary. :stuck_out_tongue: And I find it hard to believe that we’ve intimidated every single one of that supposed majority of THS members who like the 5-applicant limit.

I would like to pose a hypothetical question to THS staff: Let’s imagine just for a minute that the 5-applicant limit genuinely IS unpopular with almost every THS member. Just hypothetically, let’s imagine that. If that were the case, how would the forum reflect that? It would have a huge outflow of frustration and negative responses, of course.

Now, let’s look at the real-life situation as it stands: The forum has a huge outflow of frustration and negative responses.

So how can we tell whether the situation is A: That the majority of THS members like the 5-application limit and they are all too timid to express their opinions on the forum. or B: That the 5-application limit is massively unpopular?

The way to distinguish between those situations is to send a survey to every single member, and to post the anonymous results of these surveys openly. If there is a majority of THS members who like the 5-applicant limit, surely they would feel comfortable answering a private individual survey!



HO should have the ability to enable a “reviewing applications” shut down when they feel they have enough to move on then be able to open it up again if they want.

As a HO…I would prefer that option.



Other options:
C. Many THS members are not members of this forum. If they were, they would express their opinions.
D. Many THS members don’t even know about the 5-app limit, so they don’t have an opinion (but extrapolating from the forum comments, their opinions would be negative).


Yes, THS often references your point C, saying that since forum posters are just a fraction of THS membership, our opinions are not representative. And that therefore THS is justified in shutting down our forum conversation and discounting our frustration.

A full anonymous membership survey, sent to everyone’s email address, would address this issue. And would give equal weight to each person’s voice.


An email to every member advising them of the major change with regard to the 5 application rule would have been appreciated in the first instance. That would have been a start!


I do this now. A very quick “Hi, I am applying to your sit, more to follow” if it looks like it will disappear within minutes. If it seems less critical then I tell the HO I am planning to apply and then immediately “withdraw” so they can have more than 5 applicants. With nearly every sit I have a couple preliminary questions (usually about travel times and in-person handoffs) and ask those in my intro email.

Few, if any, HOs have been aware of the auto-p**se feature.