HO's automatically rejecting first 5 applicants

Hi Clairisamazing:

What’s amazing is we’re in the UK too! Just finished a sit in Woodstock near Oxford, and start another near Stamford tomorrow. Having an amazing time here!


Edited to keep on topic, advised to post on the relevant thread.


I set up my first owner listing yesterday; had no idea there was a 5 max rule. As both an Owner and Sitter, I understand why there is some maximum.

As a Sitter, I’ve applied and have been left hanging for a week or more waiting for a decision from an Owner, so the max rule is appreciated.

As an Owner, I’d never divulge that I’m waiting for someone better to apply. What is the point? Instead I’d reject one or two candidates and keep the other three hanging while I receive a couple more applications.

Of course the Owner runs the risk that the best candidates may decline the sit while they dither about playing games, but that’s their choice.


I reached out to THS and asked the question if it was allowable to message HOs to let them we’d be available just not for the dates they currently had listed, and if I understood their reply correctly, the answer was yes. We had a housesit set up for this summer but a horrible tragedy meant the family had to cancel (totally understandable) but left us searching for a suitable potential sit in the nearby area. We were not told about the 5 applicant limit however, so I’ve just messaged the person we contacted to let them know to cancel our application. Could this be a reason you receive so many requests? As others have mentioned, there is no way for sitters to connect with HOs otherwise.

I’ve seen it suggested several times on this forum that HOs do exactly that (reject batches of applicants while explaining they’re not actually out of the running) to get around the 5-applicant cutoff. As a sitter, I wouldn’t mind getting such a message; if I were in the HO’s shoes I’d want a wider pool of applicants to select from, too. Is it ideal? No, but neither is anything about the current process :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

(It is ironic that reviewing applicants in batches probably slows down the selection process when the purported reason for implementing the cutoff was to speed things up.)


I don’t think there’s anything wrong with owners rejecting the first five, that’s up to them, but it’s a bit worrying that so many members don’t even know about this, only five applicants rule. Is there anything about it in the terms and conditions?


So happy to hear it, Stephenia! It is a wonder, all the beauty, and Spring springing.

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It is a peaceful place with many walks though and from their huge garden, and it’s just a tiny walk across a creek to the entire village green, just beautiful.


THS implemented this policy last year for HO. So if you think only 5 people applied to your dates that is not the case. The system automatically shuts down to any other applicants after 5 people apply.

Once you put dates on your new sit, ONLY 5 applicant can apply. Once you have 5 applicants you will not see any others until you reject some or all then the system will allow you will receive more applicants.

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New sitter here. We were fortunate enough to get two sits almost immediately. Other HO who rejected us were kind enough to message us which was great. One HO however has (at last count) rejected 20 applicants and for us at least gave us no message. In all honesty we wouldn’t sit for them now as it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s not hard to send a polite note. Just my 2c worth.


That’s a bit strange. It seems like they either find the right person within the first five tries, or they keep looking for someone else. I wonder if they’re new to this and don’t realize that when you find a good person, you should grab them before someone else does. It’s important to act quickly when you come across someone who fits the bill.


That sounds absolutely beautiful, Claire! Hope you get a chance to return again sooner versus later.

Happy sitting and safe travels,


I have now saved yours as a favourite. It would be an excellent first sit in the UK after arriving by the ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich.

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That’s great, thank you.

I don’t know when I’ll next be advertising a sit but will definitely need someone for Christmas …


Moderated to conform with posting guidelines

Honestly, this sounds like just one of the (expectable/unsurprising) outcomes of the “only 5 applicants” system THS put into place.

Of course plenty of HO’s will not be thrilled and use a work-around to be able to screen more applicants. Just as it makes it more difficult for us sitters.


Had another one today where fair enough the HO sent me a message saying they had accepted someone else for the sit but would like to consider me in future. I said fine, pleased you’re now sorted for a sitter.
Just got an alert saying it’s been listed again for the same dates. So I guess the HO was just being diplomatic and is looking for a certain type of sitter?

Were the dates exactly the same? Otherwise, a possible explanation might be that they needed to adjust the dates a bit (because of booking airline tickets maybe). The only way to do that is by the HO canceling and making a new listing and the sitter immediately accepting.

Yes, this sends notifications to all sitters who had this as a saved search.

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Hi @pietkuip. No same dates as I applied for.

@richten1 if you feel like making them uncomfortable, apply again :rofl:

Maybe the sitter that was their first choice didn’t accept/ confirm the sit … or hasn’t done so yet … there are at least 3 stages before an invitation to sit gets confirmed- ( invite, accept, confirm )

There was a thread on here about HO getting annoyed when the same people applied again - I can’t find it now - but they said they didn’t relist - but as soon as they declined someone it opened up for more applications and notified those who had saved it as it being re-listed ….although they hadn’t relisted .

A suggestion I have made before is for the owner to be able to, as part of their owner profile, select the number of applications they are willing to accept. One of our recent owners had the policy of accepting the first person who applied, others like the THS enforced application limit, some owner we talk to are unaware that this limit exists and in this forum thread some owner reject some or all of the first 5 to create a bigger selection pool.

My suggestion would cater for all of these scenarios.