Homeowner Cancelled Against Contract. What can I do

Hi all, I confirmed a sit two days ago. Yesterday the owner sent me some questions about arrival times which I had to check. I ended up not being able to get back to them until today because my mother was sick. I opened the message to find the owner had written “you didn’t respond so I am uncomfirming.” What?! After 1 day of waiting for a response I wouldn’t know off the top of my head, and I have already bought $$$ tickets. I am really upset because I know as a sitter, I cannot cancel, no matter how serious the reason without contacting the owner and talking to them. But owners can cancel us without any extenuating circumstances at their whim and we are out time, money, and other sits we didn’t take because we thought they needed us. How is this fair? Does admin do anything when owners break the contract? Why can they do it so easily but we don’t have that right or ability. I could understand if it were some kind of emergency but owners can just cancel because they feel like it?


Sucks, but you probably dodged a bullet with such a host.


OP had bought tickets! That is not dodging a bullit.

I had something similar now: on Sunday the accept/confirm sequence, then on Monday they cancelled with “needs have changed, but definitely next time!” Bummer. But in my case no real harm was done.


So you think they’d be better off with a host who thinks they can demand immediate attention even before a sit? To me, that’s a red flag. And yes, I’d rather not sit for such a person, even had I booked travel. Of course, I don’t accept any sits without a Plan B. To me, that’s necessary whether you’re a host or a sitter, always.


Yeah, and that’s really frustrating and disappointing when you committed yourself but if they don’t need a sitter, I don’t know what can be done. But in this instance, they do want a sitter, they just broke my contract but want someone else (only because I didn’t respond quickly enough, nothing changed on my profile or anything), so can I get compensation or whatever because they broke their end. Or does the “contract” not mean anything if you are a homeowner, and the rules only apply to sitters

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My question is whether they can do that. What I have been told when I needed to cancel a sit due to a family emergency was that we are not allowed to cancel unless it’s extenuating circumstances and that I couldn’t cancel without talking to the homeowner first (I physically couldn’t even if I would have wanted to but apparently owners can just push a button). She wasn’t cancelling the sit- she was cancelling me for not responding quickly enough due to emergency. So does the rule only apply to sitters or to homeowners two?

There is another thread now about such an HO. It all depends a bit, I have been in such a situation. The sit was nice, the HO was far away :slight_smile: But yes, halfway through the sit I offered them that I could go home when they had no confidence in me.

I have a plan B. The ferry ticket that I booked for now on Friday can be rebooked, I paid a bit extra for that. Because of all the things that I have read on this forum.


Short answer is unfortunately, yes.

On record, everyone is supposed to have a legit reason if they cancel. But THS has no teeth other than kicking someone off the platform, which it rarely does.

Why: THS is a marketplace and it collects membership money from hosts and sitters, which it doesn’t want to lose.

You can report the host and it’s unlikely that THS will do anything other than suggest that you look for another sit.


So THS requires sitters to abide by the contract but owners don’t have to do so? And sitters are unprotected if they do break it? Because it clearly states owners must contact sitters first and that there must be extenuating circumstances. If THS penalizes sitters and excuses the home owners, is there anything protecting us from situations like these? Like "they broke the contract (not the sit, the contract) so they have to reimburse you? Unfortunately it sounds like the answer is no which makes me wonder why sitters pay so much for unequal treatment.


I agree with Maggie that it’s a good thing you won’t be sitting for them. They’re HOs who see you as staff.


I’m happy to be proved wrong but my guess is that sitters cancel far more often than home hosts.

That’s right, on a whim pet parents can cancel the sit on their end. Happened to me and I tried getting member services involved and they did NOTHING! They told me to just apply to other sits. Not helpful at all. Unfortunately, it’s part of the risk with this system. Just like when sitters don’t show up for a confirmed sit.


It is what it is. No one has an actual contract — everyone participates in THS voluntarily and both sides can be inconsiderate, selfish, rude, etc. Most people don’t behave that way, but people on THS are just like people in the rest of the world — there are jerks, too.

The above is why it’s important to screen as strongly as possible from both sides and for both sides to have backup plans. There’s no guarantee even then.

Whether THS is worthwhile is decided by each member. Personally, I’ve had much more go well than not and I’ll keep up my membership as long as that’s true and as long as I feel like sitting. YMMV.


Because of the THS computer program, cancellations are 100% by Homeowners. Even if the software did break it down into sitter vs homeowner cancellations, THS wouldn’t release that info.

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Likely true.

And I would guess that it is more frequent that HOs return early than that sitters abandon the sit.


@theloveofpets Sorry this happened and yes, the imbalance is glaring. I just had a HO cancel for similar ridiculous reasons. It’s really caused some momentary chaos in my life so I empathize with you. Completely inexcusable.

I’d contact support ASAP and do so via email so you have everything in writing. I’d ask:
-If the cancellation coverage applies and get written confirmation it applies to this specific situation. If you still want to travel this might provide some amount to balance out the loss.
-File a complaint about the HO and ask that Support do an inquiry. I’d also ask if the HO is able to repost even though they violated THS policies. Highly doubt anything will really happen but you’ll have it all in writing.
-Technically is it a contract? Yes, an agreement can legally be viewed as a contract. The confirmation and communication are support of that. But THS won’t take action on your behalf.


It appears so. Not only technically but also legally, provided there are no small print clauses we don´t know about.

A contract is a legally binding agreement, whether written or spoken, between two or more parties that outlines their rights and obligations. It must contain an offer, consideration, and acceptance.

As far as I can see all the boxes are checked for a legally binding contract. (but I am not a lawyer)


To clarify, when I said “contract,” I was referring to the Code of Conduct and this information stated here
As part of the code of conduct that all TrustedHousesitters members agree to, a confirmed sit cannot be cancelled unless both pet parent and sitter agree or there are extraordinary circumstances.

I understand both sides can be inconsiderate, things happens, etc. Those aren’t my questions as I understand there are certain parts of the equation that can’t be guarenteed. My questions are what safeguards are in place/ what happens when a party breaks the rules? Is there anything in place to protect the wronged party and what can I personally do? What do they do on their end? These are extremely reasonabIe questions to ask a business. If the answer is nothing, that even though I pay a fee for service, I can’t rely on THS to uphold their code of conduct, then I need that clarified.


I am really sorry to hear about that. I would be annoyed as well. But like another poster said, ultimately you probably dodged a bullet with this person. It would be one thing if she was still in the process of picking a sitter and that one day delay led her to consider other people in the mix. But to actually cancel the sit with a confirmed sitter after a mere day of not hearing back about an issue that doesn’t seem particularly time sensitive is very strange and a huge red flag.

You mention the word ‘contract’ in numerous responses, and there really isn’t any binding agreement of any kind between the homeowner and the sitter. I know you probably didn’t mean it literally but the use of that word does speak to an issue I think is common among people using the site, which is making it a bunch of things it really isn’t.

One thing that is really important to keep in mind about THS is at their core, they are nothing more than a platform to introduce sitters and HO’s. Sitters are not any sort of employee or contractor for THS nor is THS personally facilitating these matches or personally vouching for anyone who joins the site as a sitter, which requires nothing more than a membership fee, providing ID and if a US-based sitter, passing a background check. Anyone can join as HO.

While I appreciate they make an effort to minimize various problems faced by both parties through the creation of a number of terms and conditions, at the end of the day, there is very little they can do about some of the most common issues, such as cancellations on either end, dirty houses, etc…

I know there are instances when they remove egregious offenders from the site, such as sitters proven to have left animals alone, etc…but again, at the end of the day, they generally have minimal involvement in these agreements.

There is risk involved in everything and house sitting can present a number of them on both sides of the equation. Though as someone who has been sitting for a decade, I can say my experience has been overwhelmingly positive and I believe situations like this are relatively rare.

There is no perfect system for navigating this process, or avoiding every potential problem that can arise. I know when things like this happen, the first impulse is to say THS should do this or that about it, but any time they appear to involve themselves more in the process, most people don’t like the results, so I prefer they stick to their original intention as much as possible, which is to serve as an introductory platform.

Best of luck and again, sorry this happened. But I think it did probably work out for the best


That’s part of my frustration. Sitters literally cannot cancel without contacting homeowners and having a reason. We have to go through a procedure to cancel and follow specific rules. It seems as though owners don’t have those same expectations even though the websites states the rules are the same for both!