Our family has been doing TH sits for about 6 months and we have done multiple stays.
A few weeks ago we did a call and then a video chat with some homeowners that wanted us to come do a stay. This is their first sit and I understand them being nervous. At the end of the call we all agreed to the sit.
This evening, without any correspondence I received an email with a 3 page liability release and request for our driver’s licenses.
The release is one found online and is more for participating in an activity (trampoline park, horse riding, etc).
It pretty much says they are not responsible for anything that happens to us while we stay in their home but also says they can provide any necessary medical assistance we may need. (They won’t be there so I’m not sure their plans there…)
The release then goes onto say that we will be held financially responsible for any and all costs associated with damage to any equipment or facilities.
As I said, I understand their concerns but at the same time I’m not sure if I feel comfortable signing this. If their pets are naturally destructive (we’ve been warned of this) or a large appliance stops working, I don’t feel we should be responsible for this and I feel this leaves that risk open.
Neither the release or IDs were discussed during either conversation. We will not be using their car.
I wouldn’t do such a sit. The HOs seem to lack trust and/or experience and such sits seem likelier to end up with unnecessary complications and have higher odds of a poor review. To me, when there are so many sits available with normal people, it’s not worth the hassle of such folks.
In withdrawing (if that’s what you end up doing), I’d just say it sounds like the sit isn’t a good fit for me and I’d move on. Maybe there are sitters who’ll handhold or bend over backward who’ll want the sit.
I don’t think you are overthinking it @Travelmomma.
They are new to THS and possibly trying to cover themselves but even so I wouldn’t sign or go ahead with the sit in the circumstances. I also wouldn’t send a copy of my driver licence when not using their car.
It sounds like the Homeowners won’t accept responsibility for anything that happens on the sit and neither will THS as they only act as a platform to introduce members to each other. As such you will be on your own. Too many red flags for me.
I wouldn’t do the sit either. I had something similar in the past, not official, but a 9 page email detailing everything for which I would be responsible, including any vet fees for a poorly cat. I was really annoyed and quickly told them I would not do the sit. I had met them in person, and none of this was discussed. Stay well clear
As other members have said, you are definitely not overthinking this @Travelmomma. As these requirements were not in their listing or in the call and video chat you have already had, you are within your rights to ask for them to cancel you as their sitter as it is not what you had agreed to at the time of confirmation.
Like many others have said…take a pass. I understand some people can be very nervous about this arrangement and think more of the legal ramifications of various aspects, and act accordingly, but still overall be pleasant people to deal with.
But asking you to sign something of that nature suggests they may be people of a particular type of mentality and personality that I wouldn’t want to deal with in the context of house sitting especially.
As someone who has been doing this for almost 10 years, the best advice I can give to anyone is trust your gut and honor your preferences, one of which for me is easy going homeowners. So I definitely wouldn’t take this sit.
I would be very uncomfortable in the home the entire time. Lots of potential for problems here, from getting a bad review for not meeting some impossible standard of service to something going wrong in the home–like an expensive appliance breaking–them assuming we were at fault, and being expected to pay for it.
If something feels off in any way when reading the listing or when talking with the owners, or it involves elements you know you wouldn’t like, move on and trust the right sits will come along. I have been steadfast in this rule, and my experience in almost 70 sits for this site has been overwhelmingly positive. That isn’t mere luck.
Is a ridiculous clause ; it relates to ANY damage so includes damage that has not been caused by the sitter. So if the pipes burst in cold weather and the home is flooded - the sitter is responsible for paying for the repairs to the damage upfront !!
Clearly an unfair clause on the sitter and should be removed (or reworded ) from the T& Cs .
We are THS newbies - Owners. Our first sits are upcoming. I can’t imagine asking a sitter to sign such a document. Between the liability insurance included by THS and our own liability/homeowners insurance, it just seems to be an excessive ask. Perhaps the owner in question is a lawyer?? LOL
As others have said, have trust as in “Trusted Housesitters”.
That said, due to crazy liability laws and excessively litigious locals where we live, we have decided not to offer our cars to sitters while we are away (except in cases of pet emergencies). We know this may limit our pool of possible sitters. But we all have our own comfort levels. It seems the owner in question has a very low comfort level with the THS concept.
I had one of these sent to me (fortunately before I had accepted) and declined. The HO said she was “open to revisions.” Well, I have a job, and don’t have time to reach out to an attorney to review a contract for providing a free service.
The oddest part to me was that the pet’s routine and pet instructions were included as part of the contract, and included going to bed after 1 a.m. and getting up by 7 a.m. Pardon?
@Travelmomma If it were me, I would set a shining example of the ethos of THS and speak with the HO directly vs sending a message/email.
If this is indeed a sit of high interest to you and your family, I would set the stage with that, saying how much you are looking forward to the sit. I would then express how surprised you were to receive the document, without discussion, and that, in your experience of multiple sits, have never been requested to sign something similar. I would explain the liability insurance included by THS and the HO’s own liability/homeowners insurance, covers any unlikely occurrence, and that the provided document seems to be an excessive ask and not something you are prepared to sign.
Again, if a high interest sit, perhaps ask what exactly are their concerns and be prepared to address them.
If the HO’s response is to your liking, you could then proceed with the sit. If not, as others have said, you can let them know you are not prepared to proceed with a dark cloud hovering overhead.