It is important for sitters to know at what time of the day you will leave and come back home - and this should be clarified before a sit is confirmed! It is also important for the sitter to know whether they will be allowed or expected to stay one or several nights in your home while you are still there or after you have come back, and also this - before a sit is confirmed!
It sometimes takes me four to five request messages to HOs until I get this vital information, and unfortunately, sometimes it has led to very unpleasant surprises AFTER a house-sit had been confirmed, as it has happened to me twice in a row right now. For example, I was just informed regarding a 5-week sit which was confirmed months ago, that the home owner will be still at home with me 4 days after my expected arrival/my official start of sit, which is very unusual - and for me, personally, a rather unpleasant situation.
From now on, for myself, I will make it a rule that I will not confirm any sit until I know the exact day and time of the HO leaving and the exact day and time of them returning. It is vital to know these details, so the sitter does not book and prepay a hotel room 300 miles away if they are expected to arrive early in the morning or cannot leave until late in the evening - and must leave then because the HO won’t allow the sitter to stay another night in their home. The home owners should not wait for the sitter begging them for such information, it should be a matter of courtesy that the home owner provides it unasked in their very first message. Can we agree on that please?
It is fundamental that both parties should have the wit to understand that when to arrive and when to leave is information that has to be agreed before hand. It seems ridiculous to me that once a sit is agreed that the next thing on the agenda has to be "when 'are you arriving because I want to leave on----! Only disorganised and uncommitted people would surely behave in such a sloppy fashion by not doing so. If I can’t get a person to state specifically the date they are arriving then I would abandon the sit. Incidentally I always want the ‘sit’ in ‘situ’ at least one day before, a couple of days is o.k. too.
Please don’t tar all HO with just one brush. Some of us always post our dates to include the day before and the day after our actual ‘holiday’ This is also part of my first conversation with potential sitters so that we are all clear re commitments before invitations/acceptances.
One bad apple ………
Sitters, do you have a video chat with the HOs prior to confirming a sit so you can go through your list of questions about such things? If not, these misunderstandings are, unfortunately, likely to occur.
Please, never auto-confirm a sit without getting more info!
As sitters and HOs ourselves, we recommend always doing a video chat, which provides so much information as each party uses their list of questions to determine if it’s a fit or not.
Ken, just to clarify: Unless otherwise stated in the initial exchange of messages, I think it is reasonable for a sitter to expect that (1) the HO who the sitter communicated with will be present when the sitter arrives, (2) the HO will leave that home within 24 hours after the sitter’s arrival, and (3) the HO will allow the sitter to sleep there one more night if the HO comes back home late in the evening. Everything that deviates from this “normal arrangement” should be flagged up by the HO before a sit is agreed, without the sitter having to explicitly confirm that nothing extraordinary will be expected regarding the sitter’s arrival and departure times - and the sitter should not have to ask the HO three, four, five times until such information is given.
To come back to my current case: When I agreed to an upcoming long sit half a year ago (it is supposed to start in three weeks) the HO was a couple and I communicated with the female of that couple, and I think I could reasonably expect that both of them would be there and would leave soon after my arrival. Now I found out that the wife/woman is already overseas and won’t come back, and the husband/partner/man will spend the first four days of my sit together with me on that farm. I am a woman travelling alone and I do NOT feel safe and comfortable with such a situation, especially not on a remote farm with non-existent mobile phone signal! But can I still pull back, half a year after having agreed to that sit? I don’t think so, and I feel extremely uncomfortable about it.
A ‘normal’ arrangement, and what reasonable people do, is arrange things beforehand sun as when each is arriving and leaving; That is 'normal! There cannot be any hard and fast rules such as you describe. People have different travelling problems, distances even time zones!!
It seems that what you ‘reasonably’ expect; the people you are going to sit for don’t!!! The object of communicating is to find out these problems and if you are not happy with them then don’t ‘sit’! I understand your concern regarding being alone with a stranger in a remote place and this possibility should have been made clear to you when discussing the sit. If you feel there is some sort of duplicity going on then simply tell them what your concerns are and don’t go. Dwelling on it won’t make the problem go away and with three weeks to go they still have time to try and make other arrangements. Talk to them!!
The communication needs to go both ways. It should not be up to the sitter to try and pry information from the HO. HOs should be forthcoming with details of what it is involved in the sit. If something is unusual sitters would not even know to ask about it. As a woman I would also be very concerned about this situation.
This would make me uncomfortable, but then staying four days with anyone I don’t know would too. I think it’s against THS rules for the homeowner to be there so you could message them for guidance, or change your post here to address the immediate issue and you’ll likely get helpful feedback more quickly.
@Romana as has been mentioned, the owner is not allowed at the premises without your consent. Here’s a link to the official third party policy. You can merely tell the owners that this is not allowed, which removes the decision-making from you.
In my opinion, what is being asked of you is unreasonable. Also - and I certainly don’t mean in your case - but a male owner should also be cautious about agreeing to stay with a female who is unknown to him as he opens himself up to possible unfounded accusations. Sadly, that happens in life.
Given you say it’s a long sit, it would likely leave you with a large gap to fill, if you cancelled. I would think it’s reasonable to suggest that the man should find alternate accommodation as of the confirmed start of the sit. Sits are a two-way negotiation, rather than one side having power over the other. I’m going to tag @Therese-Moderator so that she can assist you in handling this as your comfort and safety are important.
Your “normal” and my “normal” are different, and there are probably lots of other “normals” in this community. I agree with your 2nd point, but not the first or third. It depends on the animal. I have a cat, and have often left my house before the sitter arrived, and arrived home after they left. Similarly, I have done cat sits where I have never met the HO. None of my sitters or HOs have indicated that this is abnormal.
In your case, regarding who would be at the house when I arrived - I would probably make the same assumption as you - that the person I corresponded with would be there. However, I don’t think it is unreasonable for that person to be gone and her husband be there to greet you, especially since you know at least 3 weeks in advance.
I do think it is unreasonable (aside from being against THS rules) for hubby to stay at the house for 4 days.
In general, if arrival and departure times and handover arrangements are deal-breakers, anyone can refuse to confirm a sit without this info.
This is a great thread for homeowers. As a homeowner, I usually try to state in my listing my departure and arrival times so that the sitter will know and if my times don’t meet their logistics, then they need not apply. If my sit is posted before final travel plans are made, then I also state that in the listing and inform the potential applicants that those items can be discussed when we have our video chat. I always offer my home the night before we leave if we are leaving early and it’s impossible for the sitter to get there before we leave. However, I usually like to return to my home after the sitter has left, making sure that the pets are not left for an inappropriately long time. (I get neighbors as a backup should our travel hit a snag) I find it awkward to return home, tired from traveling, and having to have a “guest”. Also, seeing that covid is still a thing, I worry about having picked up something during my travels that I would not like to pass along to my sitter. I am a sitter as well, so I will always ask for this kind of information before accepting/confirming a sit.
As a HO I like my sitters to arrive 2 days before we leave that gives us chance to show them where things are and how they work and more importantly introduce them to our pets, it’s important they know the routines and feeding times etc. on our return we like to allow a day just in case of delays as travel is so unpredictable now so if they leave before our return snd we are delayed our pets could be left alone and maybe in distress . So as a responsible HO it’s important for us to agree with the sitter the arrival and leaving date, or if it might be flexible, it’s a discussion to have, obviously it might not suit you but it suits a lot of sitters.
I completely agree with this @Lassie - my normal doesn’t resemble the original list. So far almost all my catsits have had me arriving after the homeowners departed, and me leaving before they arrive home, and that has suited both sides best. A couple of times I have gotten a hotel in the area the night before to pick up keys, because I would much rather not spend the night with the homeowners, but most often they leave a key in a lockbox.
The one thing I’d never do is confirm a sit without knowing their preference for when I arrive and leave, but if something changed to the point they expected to share the home for days that would be a big “nope, please make other arrangements or let’s cancel the sit.”
Exactly, Quite honestly I find it mildly offensive that to have a sitter in the house whilst my wife and I are there is considered ‘against the rules’ or in some way offensive or dangerous. I completely understand, and have said so, that if a woman (in particular) suddenly learns she is going to be in a house with a man she doesn’t know then she should, if uncomfortable with that, cancel the sit and explain why. When I ask someone to come I specifically state that I would want them (he or she) to be at the house at least a day before we leave. In Fact, I have someone (a female) coming in a few weeks from the USA and she arrives 3 days before we leave, at her request I might add! I want to know as a certainty that the sitter has arrived before I leave so it is essential, from my point of view the sitter is with us in advance. In addition I always state that if the sitter wants to arrive a few days earlier then that isn’t a problem. We have the accommodation and as far as I’m concerned gives them the opportunity to become familiar with the animals and their routines. If this is ‘breaking the rules’ then so be it. Some people are paranoid to such an extent that everyone, as has been put, is tarred with the same nasty brush and I for one resent that. HO and sitters should exchange enough information about themselves that covers all eventualities so that they are comfortable with each other, part of that is seeing them before I leave!!!
We arrived for a sit this year and the homeowner told us that the female sitter who arrived to do his previous dates got to the door, found out his wife no longer lived there and she walked away refusing to do the sit.
The homeowner listing had not been updated to reflect the change in his domestic situation. We travel as a couple so it wasn’t an issue for us but I too would have felt uncomfortable as a lone female sitter (he was due to leave the next day).
I only realised his situation had changed prior to the sit because I addressed my listing to the husband and wife. He then explained the situation.
The problem is that neither can leave a review of the other as the sit didn’t take place. I haven’t checked to see if his listing has been updated.
I feel this emphasises that all listings - both homeowner and sitter are up to date and accurate and again communication is key for a successful sit.
The implication that HO are perhaps not welcome to share their own home with a sitter because the sitter ‘feels’ uncomfortable with being with me( or them) I do find slightly offensive. Insurance has nothing to do with it. If someone isn’t comfortable with me Insurance isn’t going to make them comfortable!! Of course people are different, some are paranoid others are not!! I have made it very clear about communication between sitter and HO. There simply shouldn’t be ‘misunderstandings’ if the two communicate properly; If one prevaricates or is vague in some way they should be avoided. By regular communication you get a ‘feel’ for someone. If you just accept a sit or go to a sit with only the odd exchange then people are asking for problems.