Homeowner Cancelled Against Contract. What can I do

If you check out more threads in the forum, you’ll see that sitters cancel as well, some for no good reason at all. Sitters can’t hit a button to technically cancel a sit, but if one says to a host, I’m not coming, neither the host nor THS can force them. And again, THS rarely gets involved, because they want to keep collecting membership fees.

You might not like the answers to your questions, but you’re pretty much on own. And any illusions of a contract aren’t real, because good luck trying to enforce any agreement. To say or think that there’s a contract is to give or reinforce unrealistic expectations.

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@theloveofpets I’m so sorry that happened to you. That really sucks. What is wrong with some people??! :rage:
The HO sounds extremely impatient and unreasonable especially if they knew you had already incurred travel costs in your planning. They probably would have been nightmare hosts so in that respect you dodged a bullet. But its a bummer about the costs…
THS are basically just an efficient matching site for hosts & sitters & I’m very grateful for all the amazing experiences we’ve had through housesitting. Unfortunately though if things go wrong and people act like a**holes THS is pretty useless. Their main interest is in making money and collecting as many new members as possible. The system is unfairly biased in favour of hosts and thats just how it is and all the recent unpopular changes have not helped. Get what you can from the site but in future make sure to have a plan B.
Put it down to experience, let it go and move on. And good luck for a fabulous sit next time! :pray:


@theloveofpets I’m interested to know what were the questions and had you told the homeowner that you had already bought your travel tickets ?

If you would still like to do the sit - contact the owner answer their questions, provide proof that you have bought your ticket already and ask if that is sufficient to reassure them that you are coming .

If this is less than 14 days before the sit you maybe able to claim for alternative accommodation under the sit plan . If it’s more than 14 days start looking for another sit ( which may turn out better than the first )

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The terms and conditions are clear for both owners and sitters:

5.1.15. only cancel a Sit (or complete a Sit early) if there are extraordinary circumstances and you will immediately notify the Pet Parent or Sitter (as applicable) of this.

The mechanics of it is that the owner has to be the one to untick the box on the webpage but they shoudl only do it for extraordinary reasons and not getting a response to a message in a day is definitely not extraordinary.
The fact now is that they have done it so what can you do about it?
Contact the owner and see if they will re-instate you as the sitter (assuming this is possible after their behaviour)
Report them to THS and open a dispute. Email support@trustedhousesitters.com for this. Yes they may do nothing but this is bad behaviour by a bad owner and they should be given the opportunity to sanction them. If you don’t like their response push back but make sure you tell them you want to open a dispute rather than just sending them an email as they will dodge making it a dispute if not directly told this.
If you have the premium membership and it is less than 14 days before the sit starts you can try the insurance (or whatever it is called now). If you have premium email them NOW as they have a 24 hour notification clause.
Last resort is if you want or need to get compensation for your travel costs if they are non-refundable and you cannot locate another sit in the area. This gets trickier as THS have absolved themselves of any responsibility in this regard in the terms you signed. You could try asking the owner or try stronger measures but that depends on where you are and how much it is. These actions do not always pan out.

Hey! I actually did contact the owner. I responded by apologizing for not responding right away due to emergency and told them about my flexibility regarding arrival and departure. They read it and didn’t respond back. I didn’t ask them for compensation for tickets, just THS chat, who said I have bought a more expensive membership. That’s when I got pretty rankled: Consumers have some basic rights, regardless of what tier membership we’ve purchased.

Hi, they asked about my arrival and departure times which I didn’t know at the exact second they asked me anyways because I had to buy tickets. I bought tickets so I could respond to them with arrival and departure and then was distracted a day dealing with my mom. After purchasing the tickets, I opened the message to see they said that I didn’t respond so they were unconfirming.

I think I have also had an HO who might have cancelled after confirmation if I had delayed showing them my tickets for a day.

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The only way that THS will take this seriously is to “Raise a Dispute” via Membership Services rather than just simply reporting it.


IO have just had a sitter cancel in me. The sit was arranged and confirmed by both parties in early January 2024. The sitter now tells me that he is unabke to come because he has accepted a teaching job. I am now left with all my travel arrangements made and paid for and no sitter to cover my dates in August 2024. I have had to relist my dates and hope that there is someone still available. I complained to THS who were very sympathetic but of no practical help other than giving me 2 months free subscription as an act of Goodwill. I don’t need Goodwill, I need a sitter.


@doddy335a You still have plenty of time to find a sitter. Another 3+ months. Just re-list the dates right away. If you link your listing to the forum here other members can have a look and, maybe, offer suggestions to make your sit even more appealing. What country are you in?
Its unfortunate your sitter had to cancel but a new job - maybe one that they are thrilled to have finally got- would be a significant reason to cancel. At least you’ve been given plenty of notice.
Good luck.


I read between the lines. The sitter is retired - aged 70++. I am in Frsnce. the sitter is American. The job starts on 8 August (school holiday time). Perhaps I just have a too active enquiring mind but I smell a large hairy rat. All the evidence points to this being a private job (to make cash) not a career opportunity,

Then you probably dodged a bullet @doddy335a and luckily have lots of time to get someone way better & more reliable. Imagine if he’d done it to you a week before! Now that would be stressful. #countyourblessings


Summer schools pay very well so possibly it’s that. Might not be a school in the USA.

Many US schools restart in August, so the date could be legitimate.

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@doddy335a In the US many schools start early August. That date would definitely align with the start of the school year. Some schools start even earlier.


Not taking sides because I don’t have all the facts. For instance, I don’t know if you didn’t see their message because it was on THS mail and you didn’t check the app or if they texted or tried to call and you never got back to them because you had a lot going on. I don’t know whether you got back to them with a message that you’d get back them soon or just ignored or didn’t see their message.

I also don’t know how you reacted already If it were me I would have contacted them directly – by phone if I had their number. I would have calmly tried to figure out why exactly they cancelled. Were they that anxious that I wasn’t coming? I’d try to read the room a little. Especially if you actually have the ticket. It sounds like a misunderstanding.
If they don’t have another sitter lined up they could confirm you again. Then again as others have said, you might not want to sit for them.

You can’t really do much. If it’s under two weeks and you have premium, you should be able to activate that and get something for accomodations, but if your flight can be credited for future travel, that might be less expensive.

You can dispute the cancellation with THS. This might not do much as the HOs will say that you didn’t contact them, but it might at least get THS to watch them and maybe take action if it happens again.

That’s not actually the case. Neither side is supposed to cancel but there is no “contract” and THS is lax about enforcing its rules on both sides. THS does not even track cancellations unless they are disputed, so one side would need to report this to even get attention. Then if they “investigate” if EITHER side offers a reason, they seem to end the investigation at that point. So if the homeowner said, “We were concerned because the sitter wouldn’t get back to us,” the investigation would probably lead nowhere. So if you are going to dispute this, you should send THS whatever communication you have to show that you didn’t ghost the host.

If you had cancelled for instance because after you accepted you realized that airfares were too expensive, and they disputed, and you offered that reason, THS wouldn’t kick you off. They might tell you to check before confirming next time.

The reality is sometimes sitters and homeowners need to cancel for perfectly legit reasons. While cancellations have to go through the HO, the HO can’t stop a sitter from cancelling. If the HO refused to unconfirm, the sitter would need to go through memberservices. IMO, that’s not a bad system as it protects the pets by making absolutely sure the HO knows the sitter isn’t coming.

I think that this is really bad. You cannot always reply immediately, and you can be on different time zones, if in a different country. And sometimes you do not always receive a notification that you have a message waiting. Have seen messages late a few times due to this. I also never have raoming on my phone if in another country, so would only pick up when on home/free WiFi. IfI am late giving a reply I always apologise and give the reason. After a confirmed sit I have never had an owner suddenly cancel if I have taken a couple of days to reply. I usually find it is the other way around and that it is owners who have taken their time, to respond to a message and reply. I would contact TH as once a sit is conformed, it should not be cancelled unless some kind of emergency.

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This is how I understand the sequence of events. The OP wrote: “I bought tickets so I could respond to them with arrival and departure and then was distracted a day”

The OP got the message, bought tickets, but got delayed answering the homeowner.

So I guess that the HO got worried that this sitter would not show up. I can understand that. And that the HO then would choose a different applicant.

It really sucks if you bought tickets and now have to find another sit. Seem really unfair. This is why we bought the premium plan as it pays an allowance of sorts if the sitter cancels and you have to board our pets. What I didn’t check is what allowance is paid to me as a sitter if I have bought airplane tickets and the HO cancels.