HO's arriving home early

Hi there,

If your HO decides to arrive home many hours earlier than scheduled without any notice. You complete your chores making them aware you have zoom calls booked within the hour and the hour thereafter. They suggest you go to the cafe on the High street to accommodate these calls.

Do you make sure before you start the sit of your schedule. In term’s of your requirements. In that you have scheduled calls etc up to a specific time on the given date of their return… Or you just leave it, screw up your work opportunities having sat, cleaned up, fed, walked and everything else we all love to do with pets. Although I think we all expect a bit of give & take. Maybe I am at fault for expecting this.

Especially when they are anticipating your return for future sits in the coming weeks.

How would you react, is it really necessary to have it in writing that you will leave at a specific hour of the day. I have no problem with this an perhaps it is my own fault for not clarifying this point beforehand.

However, it proved very costly and I would not want to repeat this experience. Or for anyone else to lose out on paid work due to being asked to leave many hours before scheduled.

Perhaps a clear written signed agreement before the sit may help. It appears very formal but I lost a significant potential client as a result and revenue. I would not want anyone else to experience this. Perhaps Trusted House Sitters can draft such an agreement covering both parties ?

Kind regards,


Sorry this happened. I had a HO arrive home DAYS early. Her only notice was some vague text hours before stating that the campsite was too hot or something.

I had just filled the fridge with food to last the remainder of the sit.

I think some HOs assume that it’s a “vacation/holiday” for sitters or that we’re all retired or something. I always state that I work from home and may have work calls so need strong Wifi and so forth. In my experience, a lot of retirees (and many HOs on THS are retired) have forgotten about work commitments or they never had similar commitments (especially regarding remote working).

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Thanks Katie,

Yes, these were retiree’s. I feel this reinforces the need for a simple written agreement by trusted house sitters. We are doing this because we genuinely love caring for the home owners pets. Whereas some home owners look upon us as a commodity.

Can you (TRUSTEDHOMESITTERS) please draft a very simple written agreement confirming dates and times. That can be signed and witnessed electronically. We can look after responsibilities. I’m sure most of us go above and beyond what is expected of us. As we genuinely care for the animals and environment.

Evidently more than the home owners care for our presence on their property. There does need to be a simple written agreement instigated by Housesitters and not us me thinks…

Kind regards,

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Hi Katie. I understand your perception of retirement. However, as a (sitter) retiree I still have many interests, including volunteering. I have a sit later this month and had a detailed conversation with the homeowner about the day I was to leave as I had two lengthy Zoom meetings scheduled and needed to decide, based on her answer, whether I could take the sit. I realize it’s far different for those who may not be able to anticipate their schedule on certain workdays, or can’t anticipate an early arrival of a homeowner. However, in my case, thorough communication was once again a key factor in (hopefully) a successful handover at the end.

In your scenario, the homeowner not only showed lack of communication, but also a lack of common courtesy and consideration. It’s tough to educate and/or change people like that. :roll_eyes:


I was not implying that retirees don’t have commitments. But when your livelihood depends on joining meeting at a set time (as per the OP), the stakes are pretty high.

I have read a more recent review of my HO where she did the same thing to someone–randomly returning a few days early. TBH I gave her a pass because she had suffered a tragic loss and I felt bad for her.

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Snowbird most of us take HO as decent honest folk who respect our care an attention for their pets an homes. Where as what me and Katie and countless others are experiencing is being used as a commodity.

These folk are not paying us, We volunteer because we genuinely care for their pets and homes. This currently is not a reciprocal agreement,

We need trustedhousesiitters to step up with a simple written agreement confirming times and dates. We are all paying them and what are they providing for this ?

Both myself and Katie have lost revenue as a result of home owners returning early with no notice. Expecting us to vanish within an instant. Is this reasonable and fair ?

Trustedhousesitters NEED to provide written electronically signed agreements confirming dates and times. And/or reasonable notice, I do not know about Katie but I had no notice…

Kind regards,

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Snowbird just to clarify this is not perception but fact. I lost a significant five figure contract as a result of being unable to be on that call. I do not know about Katie and the amount is not the significance here,

It is being used as a disposable commodity that can be replaced.

There needs to be a simple written agreement instigated by TRUSTEDHOUSESITTERS otherwise what are we paying them for ?

Kind regards

@Phillc @Katie @Snowbird @Vanessa-Admin yes it is right and proper that a sitter have reasonable notice when a HO is looking at returning early (unless it is an absolute emergency) and many sitters do experience feeling as if they are a commodity I am sure. I have posted about this feeling myself that some HOs seem to think that a sitter just lives in a cupboard and can be brought out (or put away) without any thought for what that might mean for that person. Perhaps its time to remind HOs of the T&C that they agreed to around this issue. I know that most HOs are respectful of sitters regarding this issue but there are some who might need to take on-board what @Katie and @Phillc are trying to raise and lift their game!


Hi @Phillc , I sympathize with you! I, too, have had HO return early while I scrambled to get their house ready to turn over and this didn’t even involve anxiety over a work contract. It might be a good idea to discuss this with all future HOs in your pre-sit interview. Ask them for the date and time of their return and let them know that you will have work commitments set up until such and such a time, and that you respectfully request a minimum of 24 hours, and preferably two days notice should they plan to return sooner. You might want to mention that you make this request because of a last minute early return that caused you to lose an important contract and that you depend on these for your livelihood.

I always try to analyze a situation so I can head off similar problems in the future.
Re. this last experience, just curious, do you think the HOs really understood the critical nature of your scheduled zoom meetings? If they had consented to let you have your zoom calls at their home while they were there, would you have felt comfortable about this? Would the cafe they suggested have worked at all? Are you scheduled to go back for another sit with these folks?


Hello @Phillc and sorry that you’ve had an owner return early. It’s happened to many of us, as you can see (early or sometimes late), and as remote workers we’ve learned over the years to keep handover and hand back days clear, just in case travel plans do change, especially now with the pandemic where it’s harder than ever to guarantee exact timings. Those are usually busy days with the handover, pets and packing etc., so not working on these days makes things easier we find, but if you have a work commitment I can see that would make it difficult.

We would hope that you would always get some notice, but we all know what it’s like when travelling, trying to get WiFi connections, so sometimes it just isn’t always possible.

While TrustedHousesitters provides a lot of guidance, a code of conduct, a welcome guide, T&Cs etc., arrangements about arrival and departure are something you agree and organize between you and the owners. Our way to deal with this it to send our own confirmation email which re-confirms all the important details of the sit including handover and hand-back, but we know we still may need to remain flexible around timings.

There did used to be an agreement template, and I will check on Monday to see if it’s still available but there’s always the risk it won’t cover something specific to the arrangements you’ve made. That’s why we’ve found it better to create our “email agreement” of the important details to ensure we all understand each other’s expectations. I know many other sitters do this also.

If on any sit you aren’t happy with the outcome please do contact membership services for advice… they are there to help and will listen to your concerns. Most owners / sitters have mutual respect for each other, but as @snowbird says, occasionally some people just aren’t good communicators and no amount of paperwork will change that :slight_smile:

Sorry again for your situation, but hopefully some of the suggestions on this thread will help. All the best.


Thank you Vanessa

As a sitter, I had understood the owner wanted to see us on their return (on the 3rd of october) so i had planned to leave on the 4th, but checking dates with that owner (my confirmation was sent last may, a few months ago), she told me she was expecting to come back on the 2nd so I was supposed to leave on the 3rd, not a day later.

i was the one to be wrong. I checked on THS and old messages

Problem is we welcome a sitter (I’m an owner too) for our own dog, and I asked him to stay until the 5th as we were supposed to come back on the 4th late !

He booked his train tickets, i don’t want to bother him coming back one day before.

Some sitters seem to hate to stay when the owner is back / One told me he hated “to sleep under the same roof”, other fear to stay with owners for Covid threat reasons

So yes, it’s a must to check the dates…
Even if we have a big home and can sleep on another floor, independent from where stays our sitter, I feel miserable : do I need to book a hotel room for us ?? Your advice ?

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I was not pointing the blame at anyone. It was an observation and suggestions on avoiding this with future sits.

We do this as we genuinely care for their pets and homes. It we be good if our time and energy were appreciated by HO. Which I’m sure it is with the majority.

It is a lesson learnt and I will ensure more clarity in future.

Thank you all for your input, advice and sharing your experiences.

Best wishes


This topic has been closed because it’s become a personal situation and the forum isn’t the place for personal grievances on house sits - that’s the domain of membership services and they are trained and experienced in helping members who have concerns about the outcome of a house sit, either as a sitter or an owner.

We’ll be talking to everyone and passing this to customer services so that they can help those concerned. Thanks to everyone who has contributed and given advice on this thread. All the best, Vanessa