List of questions from sitters to owners

@mars - I’ve only had 2 jobs with THS but I’ve never asked about cameras before either job. Have you had any negative responses to asking about cameras or did you get any strange vibes from owners after asking about cameras…???
I was in law enforcement about 3 decades ago and mention this in my profile but I would think I would have questions in my head if I was the owner and a possible sitter asked me if I had any cameras in the house.
But then again… I may look at this differently because I did some law enforcement and some private investigative work when I was in my 20’s.

In the article I mentioned, I believe I read where a couple of renters lost out on a place they wanted to stay after asking about cameras. But then again… the renters may have wondered “why” the owner had concerns about them asking about cameras…

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I haven’t had any negative reactions to asking about cameras. I’m ok with doorbell and outside security cameras but certainly not indoor cameras. If someone feels suspicious that I ask this question, they either don’t trust me or do not want to reveal their cameras, in which case I don’t want the sit.

Take a look at this thread where security cameras were discussed at length.

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Like @mars I haven’t had any negative reaction but maybe it’s because I also approach it in a certain way. I explain that I’m active on the forum and have learned a lot from it. I explain that I am surprised and shocked by some things people have had to manage. Then I explain about the posts of interior cameras that invade a person’s privacy. So far the owners have been appalled by the story, but certainly not by me bringing up the topic. They quickly confirmed that they do not have cameras. Then we move on to more fun conversation. It’s all in the delivery :slightly_smiling_face:

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@Snowbird @mars - While I’ve only had 2 jobs with THS, I hadn’t really thought about cameras until my last job which just ended a couple of weeks back and that’s because I discovered a little cube sitting on the TV stand. It caught my attention and I picked it up and discovered that it was an outdoors camera as per the description on the back of the cube. The lens was pointed upwards and in the description was the name of an alarm monitoring company which matched the placards/signs of an alarm monitoring company on the front window and the back window. I meant to look up the company and the type of camera that it was on Google but 1 of the 2 dogs I was caring for was very young and always getting into trouble so I lost interest in the camera trying to keep 1 of the dogs out of trouble… which was very difficult and time-consuming…

The thread that @mars directed me to (Security Systems- hidden or revealed) is very interesting and I’m intrigued by an app called Fing that someone has used to find cameras even though the app is for monitoring Wi-Fi networks where you can see if cameras are operating but I haven’t figured out how the sitter was able to see a camera on the network and then find it in the house…

Because of the suggestion in that thread by @dlwalsh2 , I also use the Fing app. Cameras have WiFi signals so they appear on the list of results of the space you are scanning. You have to figure out what they are by the brand name, serial/model number listed and location in the home. A wave form indicates how close you are to the signal. I entered the info I didn’t know in Google and it identified the object.

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@mars - thanks for the info. I was thinking you just got a list of devices on the network. So you download the Fing app and just walk through the house looking for devices emitting a Wi-Fi signal?
Can you imagine finding a hidden camera and the owner seeing you find it… :open_mouth:
If you found a hidden camera emitting a signal… meaning it’s working… and you weren’t told about it… would you report it to THS? Would you ask the owner about it?

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@mars - went to the Google Store and was looking at the reviews for the Fing app and I came across this review from September 16th:

“Tracing hidden cams is a premium feature. Free trial available only after entering the card details. If that’s the reason behind installing this app you can drop the idea. For me it was useless because my purpose was to check whether it really detects cams, probably would have subscribed to the premium feature as well if satisfied.”
.
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Did you have to pay to try and detect hidden cameras?
Thanks!

I investigated FING but it picks up a lot of other ‘messages’ in a property not only cameras and wifi. Plus, you have to pay a premium price to get the added option of accessing information about cameras. Fing doesn’t have great reviews on reliability either.

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You do indeed, have every right to report it straight to THS. I would consider ending the sit at that point. What the HO does is their problem at that point. I would never leave pets in the lurch, but the very principle of ‘trust’ is important to me.

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@LTD - While I would never leave pets to fend for themselves. I would contact the owner and ask that the cameras be turned off and I would contact THS to report the owner if I hadn’t been told about operating cameras. I would also consider removing the cameras or even turning off the Wi-Fi if I could find the router. And if I turned off the router I could use my phone as a hotspot to power my laptop.

And I did come across that review where the person did mention you have to pay to find cameras. I haven’t downloaded the app so I haven’t had a chance to play with it.
You did mention: “Plus, you have to pay a premium price to get the added option of accessing information about cameras.”
Does this mean you can find the cameras for free with the app but you then wouldn’t be able to find out any information about the camera…??? Or does this app not even allow you to search for cameras without paying for the service…???
I would think that if the app allowed you to at least find them for free that you could Google information about the camera to learn more about it…

Why not just cover them up instead of going through all the rigmarole?
Job done. No one can spy. And I’m sure the pet parent won’t complain, they never told you in the first place.

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I downloaded this free app and used it at my next sitting. It bleeped an awful lot but at nothing in particular. My opinion is that it is useless.
I have no knowledge of the premium version

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@Itchyfeet - it would be interesting to know if the premium version works any better… or works at all. It does sound like some sitters have used it to find cameras…

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This is an important topic @MichaelinVA02 and much discussed on the forum as you will have seen from @mars link to another discussion. Mars is also correct that TrustedHousesitters are very clear in that members must disclose CCTV or camera equipment and this information is found in the Terms & Conditions, and in help information on the website:

Cameras are becoming more widely used and are much cheaper to install, so when on sits we’ve found it’s quite an easy topic to approach as part of our security questions. Do you have an alarm, do your have an indoor or outdoor cameras. And we take it from there. I think it will become a topic that (like you suggest) will become much easier to discuss openly and frankly without fear, and having discussions like this in the forum will certainly help, so thanks for raising it.

All the best, Vanessa

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Good Morning,

I did not think about cameras in the home, which brings up the question: I did request a welcome guide soon after accepting the sit.It was not fully filled out - mostly ‘working on it’ in many areas. It is still a month away, and I am wondering if I should ask for an updated version a week before the sit? I don’t want to alarm the HO, and they have not addressed to handoff. Appreciate your help/

If it were us we would give them a gentle reminder now. They will likely have more time now that just before they leave when people are often more stressed and short of time. I would suggest they fill in the most important sections to start with, about the property, pets and routines, and emergency contacts. If they are overwhelmed by it that will cut it down a bit… and then you can coax them towards the sit start date and fill in any remaining gaps at the handover. I would say something along the lines of how it takes the pressure off the handover and allows more time for getting to know the pets and their routines, knowing all the “detail” is in a safe place :slight_smile: Good luck!!

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I would like the host to list, so that I know if I want to apply:

If their cat is indoor or outdoor.
If their dog is allowed off leash.
If their dog has play dates.
If their animals take medications.
If there are stairs.
The time that they will leave.
The time that they will return.
If you can arrive night before.
If you can remain an extra night.
Every single responsibility.
If they have scheduled repairs.
If they have scheduled any workers.
If there are safety issues.
If there are issues with neighbors.
Back-up plan if their return is delayed.

While this might seem like a lengthy list, I’m sure there are plenty more that will come to mind

Every host is different and I have to figure out how. There have been a few surprises.

I’ve had hosts get annoyed when I didn’t eat their food.

I had to give oral medication to a cat who didn’t want it.

I’ve had three flights of stairs to get up to the apartment.

I had a neighbor who turned his music up so loud that the pictures hanging on the wall would shake.

I had a host who said that the neighborhood kids could come over and use the pool.

I wasn’t told about rattlesnake danger and precautions, and the prepaid service that would remove them.

I’ve had hosts say “you could have stayed here” when they find out I had an Airbnb the night before.

All this being said, I love house-sitting and it’s mostly great. It would just be nice if everything was up front so that all of us can get the best, stress-free match

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Hi @Rebecca_R , I ask all of these questions as part of my initial interview with the HO, with the exception of problems with neighbors and environmental safety issues (ex. rattlesnakes).
I think I’ll add them too. Thanks for your post.

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Hi Mars,

I’ll ask every question I can think of during the interview, but if it was listed it would help me to decide if I want to apply or not.

In the case of the rattlesnake, when I arrived at her home and asked about wildlife, she told me about coyotes but never mentioned snakes. It was a neighbor who told me about the danger and the removal service.

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Hello Sitters,
I have completed my first sit. It went very well despite a quick handover and minimal response from the owner. I learned that I need to ask owners the departure time as I have a minimal
2-hour drive to any sit near me. Because of my neglect to ask before I accepted the sit, I ended up having to pay for an airBnB the night before so I could arrive before the owners left. Not something I want to do in the future. This post may be moved to another topic 'early arrival ', but I think it needs to be in both. As a newbie I did not think to ask until there was a foggy morning in my location. I know the owner is not obligated to put a sitter up so I paid for this experience.

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