Etiquette for Declining Applicants

Yes, I couldn’t agree more. I applied for a sit recently and after three days of hearing nothing, I just got the direct decline autogenerated message with no courtesy email to accompany it. It can feel a bit cold and disrespectful to me when that happens when a brief thank you for applying wouldn’t take more than a few seconds. To me, if a person isn’t demonstrating the bare minimal courtesy, I’m actually rather glad I wasn’t shortlisted or even selected.


Thank you for doing this, Kelly. This is absolutely the right and respectful way to handle it.


As other sitters have said, it’s so nice to receive just a “thank you for applying” when your application is declined. I just don’t understand the lack of courtesy not doing this. This just happened to me again yesterday - applied on a local sit with a nice personalized message. We even offered to meet the people prior if they felt we were a good fit. I’ve been a sitter with THS for eight years and have almost forty reviews. I was the third applicant - not even an acknowledgement of my application.


I agree. It can be quite disheartening, especially as you’d made that real extra effort with your application by offering to meet beforehand.

With the one I applied for, I was the first applicant and the listing closed off to reviewing the 5 applicants in less than half an hour. Whenever I get turned down, I try to view it that there’s probably a better opportunity elsewhere on the horizon even if I don’t know what it is yet. Coming back to the absence of basic manners in turning down a sitter though, that tells us quite a lot about a PP/HO as it really doesn’t require much time or effort to just do it courteously.


I always send a personalised message. Applicants who were less suitable I’ll write a simple one-two line “thank you for your application but we have chosen someone else”, for applicants who seemed super suitable and/or wrote a nice personalised application I always try to write something more personal back, saying how much I liked their message, and that I really hope they’d consider applying again in the future.

Recently I did receive an application that was only a couple of sentences long, with no info about the person or why they applied. In that instance I was unsure whether to let them know that most other applicants send longer messages, often at least partly personalised? I thought it could come across as condescending, but maybe they are simply unaware that they need to put a bit more effort into their application and are missing out on sits as a result?


I always thank and leave a comment.

Twice, I left constructive for their profiles suggesting personal references since they had no THS sits, no Airbnb, work, or housesitting experiences.

If we chatted and we liked them but chosen another., I’d say say I hope we’ll have the opportunity to meet for a future sit.

And if we weren’t fond of them. I thank and wish them a good summer or whatever.

PS I wish all sitters who decline my invitations (to “find a sitter”) would leave a note saying if they’d be interested at another time OR if it wasn’t a good fit (allergies, distance from day job, want urban or international only, etc).I wouldn’t be hurt but would know how to label/archive to invite or not next time.


It should be almost a must to give a reply not always a feedback(but this always help) but just simply decline, it’s a soul breaker for us sitters.


I am a new member to trusted house sitters and I have been turned down for all but one application. I have appreciated that every one of the turn downs has told me why.

I am looking for house sits in the United Kingdom Summer of 2023, I don’t have a car and I will have my small dog with me. I really do appreciate that when I’m turned down that they tell me that it’s either because I don’t have a car and they live remote, or it’s because their animal is afraid of other animals. That way I don’t actually feel rejected because I realized the lack of a car and the bringing of my own dog do limit my opportunities.

In my recent applications I have started to ask that if they are within a reasonable walking distance of public transportation, would they still consider me.


@DebbyAndDazzle yes I think this is a very good idea to ask with regards to public transport.
I really hope you manage to secure a sit very soon, fingers crossed for you :slightly_smiling_face:


As a HO I try to always send a note of some sort, and to do so PRIOR to hitting “decline”. I once hit “decline, send a note”, and the sitter responded that they got the TH decline notice before my note - I was horrified, it felt like I’d been terribly rude! Now after confirming a sitter I send a note to all applicants, then i do the “decline don’t send note” but wonder if TH will track that data as a HO that didn’t bother to send a reply…

It’s MUCH trickier now with the 5 app limit (and here’s where my post gets dragged to the closed thread…) We have a couple 6+ week trips this year so are looking for serious, experienced sitters who can handle a house and it’s issues, not just a cat. We’re in a popular area with good reviews, so 5 apps takes 30-45 minutes. We “hard decline”, with a note, any app that is not a good fit, and “soft decline” (we’ll be reviewing apps in a couple days but are declining you to keep the listing open for at least 24 hours, we’ll get back to you) those that may have potential. Being Sitters also and seeing so many sits hit the 5 app limit while we’re asleep, I’m trying to level the playing field a wee bit. I try to send those replies right away, but it may take up to 24 hours depending on what I’m doing that day. And that means I’m glued to my phone reviewing, declining/replying, unpausing/lather-rinse-repeat for 2 or 3 days. By then some sitters have moved on or gone silent, and I’ve got a spreadsheet trying to track everyone and what communication we’ve had. It’s taking longer for us to confirm a sitter, and I’m not always sure I’ve gotten back to everyone.

As a sitter I’ve cancelled a couple applications, not sits, when the HO took “too” long (3 weeks is plenty) or when our plans have shifted. I’ve had applicants go silent even after we’ve asked them to video with us. Which is all a very long way to say be gracious, be polite, but also it’s not personal.


I was recently invited to sit for a home I saved. I wrote an email to graciously decline as we are out of town but would like to be invited in the futute.

Once I saw the HO read my decline email. I followed up with “I see you’ve received my decline email, so I will now decline my invite. Good luck in your search.”

Took all but 5 minutes…if that.

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Hi there!
I appreciate the homeowner writing a personalized decline message; even if it is a cut and paste to those who applied and weren’t successful.
I also appreciate those rare occasions when feedback is offered like “I don’t think my cat would get along with your young boy” or anything that can help out the sitter for future applications.

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I might be mistaken but I found that as soon as I pressed the ‘Accept’ button for my approved sitter and auto message goes out to all other applicants. I know this because I had someone very irate come back and ask why we had declined them. I like to have a verbal agreement before I press the Accept button. Then I can write a short note to the others knowing I have secured my sitter.


Why isn’t there a “shocked” emoji?

I would expect better etiquette from the sitter. That is disgraceful.

DITTO, here, Debby + Dazzle, I am in the exact same boat, and brand new to TH, so I can affirm;
it is limiting, but hopeful.

I have made around 18 apps this past week,
been “DECLINED” once with no note + that did shock me, as it was my first reply EVER.

The rest of the Home Owners’ replies to me have been so warm, and kind, welcoming us another time, possibly,

+/or stating how our current dates/times do not line up. Mutually Beneficial exchanges are all I want or need.

Some people definitely have animals that welcome a dog, or will be fine with interspecies companionship, or can enjoy sharing their nest without a ruffle of their feathers,
so I am focused on those who are receptive.

I’m making a list for future times I’m prepared to sit.

I will buy a car, or
stop applying to those Hosts who ask for a car, or communicate to assess the seriousness of the car need.

I feel strongly that I must have a car, for any potential emergency with their pets.

I am celebrating the clarity shared here:

  • A declined applications with no note is a horrible, wasteful and painful thing.

  • Thank you to all thoughtful, respectful and caring Hosts who have replied.

  • A note that informs of potential future sits,
    comforts me, knowing they have the best Sitter for their needs.

  • This makes me happy, and my many, many hours of dedication to learning, creating a Profile, reading The TH Forum for clues, and guidance and warnings, and reading Sits listings, and applying, for an hour or so each, all worth it.

*. I need to know there is a Win/Win/Win/Win evolving here; for my Hosts, their animals, their Home, and Me with my Tarkina, always by my side.

*. I want to be part of a community growing in Trust, and …

*. trust requires clear, helpful communication.

I have found success by stating my experience with my dog’s behavior in general, and in different situations and with different animals, so the Host can assess the potential complement or discordant shared space for our animals.

There will be sits.
Our animals will be happy and have fun.
We can relax and support Hosts having a splendid time away.

I send my best wishes for your calm, and peaceful heart, Debby.

Aloha all, Claire

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Thank you, Stephenia, for the insight into how it is for Hosts, as I also have a wild and dynamic list that has Sit- items spinning between
SO NICE! - if Host is especially warm, +

…and it is a lot to track.

It is good to understand the commitment, and reality involved for you as a Host, as well,
and the flexibility with understanding that can assist both sides having a good experience here.

Aloha, Claire + Tarkina, Assistance Dog, by my side.

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As a sitter has to press the ‘Agree to Sit’ button after an owner wishes to ‘Confirm’ them, I’m thinking this is when the automated decline email is sent to those sitters who have missed out. This makes it difficult for owners to message unsuccessful applicants beforehand as they want to make sure their preferred sitter does accept before doing this. All you can do @frenchlife is send those personal messages as soon as the sit is confirmed by both you and your sitter.


Can a moderator confirm or deny this auto decline?
@Debbie-Moderator @Angela-HeadOfCommunity
Many thx!

@HelloOutThere I reached out to our Member Services Team and received this response:

Once a pet parent accepts a sitter an auto decline message is sent to the other applicants. The pet parent can go through their inbox prior to confirming their chosen sitter and politely decline any sitter applications that they don’t believe is a right match for their sit, prior to confirming their sitter so the applicants are aware

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