HO booking us for longer than they’re away and expecting us to stay on with them

We’ve just had a sit that’s left us with a sour taste and aren’t now sure what we should do in the review process. We applied for a sit Sunday-Saturday and had it confirmed without any kind of interview or other communication, which we’ve found isn’t common but with some HO they’ve done so many of these they’re maybe more relaxed now. They did message and say they’d be in touch nearer the time. This didn’t happen and as the sit approached we contacted them to see what time they needed us to arrive so we could plan other sits around it. At that point they said they’d be leaving on the Monday morning and had thought they would provide us with an evening meal the night before. This was the first we had heard that we’d be spending a night all together but again that’s not that uncommon but had they communicated that in advance we might not have applied for the sit as we travel as a family and our son with additional needs struggles with the social expectations of meeting strangers and so to spend a whole evening and eat with them wouldn’t be in any way relaxing for us. Although the intention was appreciated by us and we politely declined the meal. We had a very thorough handover from them on arrival and everything was fine until the morning when as they were leaving they told us they’d be back two days earlier than they’d booked us for. When we said we’d have to then decide whether we left the night they got back or the following morning they insisted they’d be back late that night and so we’d need to stay until the next day when they said they’d be out and about and busy until the afternoon. It was not clear at this point whether they were expecting us to take responsibility for the dog while they were out running errands and doing their hobbies. So during our stay we had a level of anxiety that we’d maybe need to have an awkward conversation about what their expectations were and that we’d also have to find accommodation for the night/nights we weren’t needed. On the day they were due back I messaged in the morning with an update on the dog and enquired when they were due home but we didn’t hear from them at all until about 5pm when they said they were an hour away. Cue a frantic scramble to gather our stuff and do a last quick clean, thankfully I’d done most of the cleaning and packing earlier in the day. During our time there we had the owners staying for the first night, landscapers in the garden the first day, cleaners on the second and third day and gardneners every day with access to the house to use the toilet. The details of the cleaner and gardeners had been on the listing but given that our sit was now cut short by two days it meant that the entirety of our stay someone else was on the property every day we were there and it felt less than relaxing. Given that the owners were back by 6pm ish we said we’d leave when they arrived to give them their house back, they seemed surprised when they got back and found us ready to leave and said we would have been welcome to stay for the duration of the sit but that just felt weird as we’re house sitters not friends or guests. All in all we felt as though we were being treated as staff and that our own needs/plans weren’t in any way respected and that we were perhaps also being checked up on as though by arriving early they might have returned to find us too relaxed in their home or something. Overall the house was beautiful and the dog was great but it’s the owners’ poor communication that has marred the experience and I’m not sure how we can justifiably review that given they don’t have the same star rating as us. Sorry for the long old post!

For the cleaner/gardeners that were there every day, you could maybe word it something like that:

“During our stay there was a cleaner and gardener doing their daily jobs around the house, so if you need privacy or need silence to work from home, this might not be the right sit for you.”

That way you’re just telling the truth, it’s not ‘nasty’ towards the owner and it’s valuable feedback for future sitters


It’s common for owners to have you arrive the day/evening before the sit and have you for dinner. It’s usually a nice time to get to know each other, the pets, the home and the area. It’s not common to be there for two extra days after the owners arrive home, but if they are getting home late, the sitter is often invited to stay until the next morning. There is no reason to suspect they wanted you to care for their pet while they ran errands.

They had told you they’d be home late in the day so you should not have had to scramble when they finally responded that they’d be home at 6 pm.

I’m sure you now realize the importance of having a phone or video call prior to accepting a sit, especially because you have a special needs child and require certain conditions, e.g. minimal socializing. If you had, all of this could have been discussed and you would have had no surprises. You would have asked them if anyone else would be at the house during your stay and would have learned about the cleaners, landscapers and gardeners. You could also have told them that THS does not allow third parties to be present during the sit so the gardeners would not have been permitted access to the house. At that point you could have negotiated or decided the sit was not for you.

It seems the owners were kind and fair, although their communication fell short. They shouldn’t bear all of the blame here, as the onus was also on you. As this sit was otherwise very nice, I think you should review them favorably.


Welcome @ADF
Crossover with HO is pretty common in my experience. I’m usually asked to arrive the day or night before the HO departs. The HO can then introduce me to their pet(s) and property. Not uncommon to be made a nice meal or taken for one. It’s usually a time to bond.
As for third party people. I have no issue with a cleaner but I ask if any people will be visiting the property during my sit when we have a pre sit video chat.
Can I suggest you don’t accept a sit in future without having a chat or video call before hand in future.

Wouldn’t recommend doing sits without some form of communications that include how the handoff will be done, when the host is leaving and returning, etc. I have no problem with regular cleaners or gardeners coming to the house, but I’d find out when, so I’ll know in case of any conflicting mtgs, since I telecommute. If I had such concerns, I’d discuss that ahead of accepting a sit. I also enjoy getting to know hosts if timing works out, but if I thought that awkward or otherwise, I’d also discuss such plans as part of when they’re leaving and returning. With most sits, I’ve done video chats, but I’ve also simply traded msgs with hosts and that’s worked fine, too. Communicating is key and that can happen in various ways.

It seems like both parties missed on communicating. For example, I’d not expect hosts to know that you have a family member who’s not comfortable with what most sitters consider pleasant socializing.

Returning unexpectedly early — unless there was an emergency or something else significant reason wise — is not cool. I’d mention that factually in your review. As a sitter, if I see that in a review, I’d figure that the host could do that to me and create unnecessary inconveniences, so I’d avoid them.


I suppose the bit I wasn’t clear on is that they weren’t particularly kind. Their attitude felt rude and entitled and it seemed they would have expected us to care for the dog when they got home because on reading their other reviews for sitters with the power of hindsight they make mention of sitters doing the dog walk in the morning and giving them a lie-in or providing a meal for them when they got back so I think this is something they do when they book sitters, have them stay longer than actually needed. When they did message to tell us they were an hour away they said they’d have eaten so not sure if that meant they expected us to cook for them.

This is the whole purpose of reviews and now, with the blind review system finally in place, you will have no fear of a retaliatory review. Having read the past reviews I wonder why you went ahead with this sit and especially without a video interview which I always insist upon, even if the owners don’t want one.

@ADF “They said they’d have eaten” means that they had already eaten and did NOT need any meal when they arrived home. I realize the English language can be a bit tricky at times.

That communication at 5 pm was actually polite and thorough, and telling you not to worry about their dinnertime needs when they arrived home. They were NOT expecting you to provide them any food for dinner.

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Coming the day before the HO leave and staying one night more when they come back is something we experience a lot (almost always) when we do a Housesit.
We do think it is important to bond and communicate a little with the HO. After all, they trust you with their pets and in their home.
You can exchange rules, way of doing things and experiences on a relaxed way. As well the evening/day before the sit and the evening/day after the sit.

But for us, this is also more then “a formal exchange of getting a free petsitter versus free housing”. We see it as getting to know new people, new cultures, new thoughts etc.
We do have HO who we see now more as friends then as “just a formal sit agreement”. And we love it.

But we are not fulltime sitters, so we don’t need a place to stay and just go with a housesit that suits us in time, pets, place and house owners (always after a videocall!!). Maybe that is also a different point of view.

I am English so understand the English language and also understand how the English upper classes often don’t entirely say what they mean and that there are often things implied and I suppose that’s the entire gist of my post and why I’m feeling put out. I do believe what they were implying was that we might have been expected to cook for them as other sitters had apparently done. I also believe it was implied that we should take care of the dog for the day once they were back. Telling us at 5pm that they were due back at 6pm, three hours earlier than they’d previously told us and two days earlier than they had booked us for, is in no way polite. Especially as I had asked them for clarification in the morning.

@ADF I completely agree with you about the overall situation! These Owners are completely wrong.

I was only commenting on the single sentence about dinner. If their statement at 5 pm was unclear to me, I would have texted back, “Are you saying that you have already eaten, or are you saying that you would like me to make dinner for you?” The answer to that question would provide clarity for everyone.

Hello everyone, The OP as a new community member shared that they have received lots of helpful information from you all and would like to thank everyone who commented on this thread. They have now requested that the thread be closed as they have received the peer-to-peer support they hoped for. Thank you.