Paying a security deposit to sit

Hi everyone,
I’ve been using THS for several years and really love it, especially when it functions as I believe it’s supposed to - as a reliable and friendly exchange of services in good faith. I know we all have different opinions about whether or not sitters should be asked to pay utility bills or expected to leave “thank you” gifts, but what are your thoughts on being asked to place a security deposit before a sit? I just saw a listing that requires sitters pay utilities, provide external references, and pay a security deposit… it just doesn’t sit well with me and I’m wondering what everyone else thinks.
And yes, there are a couple of pets to look after, so it doesn’t look like a house-sit only situation.

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I’d be giving this sit a miss @CanadianSitter! It really isn’t embracing the ‘trusted’ part of TrustedHousesitters at all.

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Hi @CanadianSitter could you please Direct Message me the link to the sit or details of location and dates … thank you

Hi Angela - just sent it. :slight_smile:

I just scroll on past the sits that ask me to pay anything! I am caring for their house and/or their pets, that should be more than enough!

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I saw that sit too, it’s a 5 month sit so I didn’t think the ask was excessive, at least the utility bills. They already have 8-11 applicants so it’s attractive to some I suppose.

NEVER NEVER NEVER We have been housesitting for 7 years and the only time we were asked to pay a deposit we paid it and ended up in court trying to get it back.
We will never apply for or housesit for someone who asks for a deposit again!

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If it’s for a five month sit I would think that asking for a contribution towards utilities may be reasonable, but I would never dream of asking for a deposit! We only ever go away for 1-2 weeks max so I never ask for any contributions at all…

I was just browsing sits, and saw one I liked the look of until I clicked read more and saw “***Please note: You will need to pay a refundable security deposit.

I could understand pitching in for utilities if on a long sit with no animals but this sit has a dog, a cat, and parrots to look after, plus gardening and daily swimming pool maintenance!

As wonderful as the home and animals look, there is no way I would apply for it as the security deposit request makes me feel like a criminal and completely goes against the “trusted” part of TH. Not because of the actual money, but because this is an equal exchange, not a rental application. This type of demand skews the power dynamic and is a big red flag for me.

The homeowner probably doesn’t mean it in that way at all, and may be new to TH and just nervous about having someone in their home, which is understandable, but it doesn’t come across well so maybe a gentle nudge from TH would help them to reconsider that request (I’ll send the link to one of the admins).

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Hi @Lindsay and you are right to question the security deposit request. Please do DM the link to one of us and we’ll pass this on to the team so they can make contact with the owner to advise. And thank you :slight_smile:

I’m pretty sure this is one that I came across tonight searching at well, and actually it was the 2nd one I saw tonight that included a security deposit. I thought this wasn’t allowed. I couldn’t find anything under FAQ, and a search lead me to here. So should we report these? Or are they ok?

As you stated, I would not apply or one of these.

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@BlueDiamondRose I’m not actually 100% sure if asking for a security deposit is allowed by TH terms or not. I sent the link over to @Angela-CommunityManager earlier today so you could do the same with any others you come across.

One idea to give homeowners clarity and prevent this sort of request from getting into the listing would be for TH to have some sort of text filtering on new or updated listings where they are alerted to descriptions containing the words “security deposit” or other questionable terms (roommate, for example). Either not allowing them to be published or flagging them for a closer internal review would help to catch these more easily before they are out in the wild.

Bummer about that particular sit though, I’m not sure the dates would work for me but aside from the security deposit issue, it looked lovely!

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Yeah I messaged Angela with the first listing I had found, but decided on seeing the 2nd to search the forums, and that is when I found this post of yours. I’m sure from what you described it’s the same one I have. I had also asked her if it was allow, and if not or if it is, maybe adding it the FAQ, as I did try to check there first before reporting any. It would also be really nice if every posting had a little flag on it, so you could automatically report on, and add comments as to why you are. There was a roommate on in Italy or France that I kept coming across, however appears to be gone now.

@Lindsay @BlueDiamondRose endorsing Vanessa’s thanks to you both and we will update you so you have clarity.

It’s definitely unusual and we would most likely withdraw our application (especially if you are also supposed to take care of animals). It also denotes a certain lack of trust (which is the whole idea of house sitting). We have only been asked once to pay 1000 EUR for sitting a house in Italy with 4 kitties for a month during the winter (they said the electricity bills for the heating are very high). But even they didn’t ask for a deposit beforehand. PS: Obviously we didn’t accept this “offer”.

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I think I know the sit you are referring to and I reported it. There was a lot wrong about it IMO. If you read the reviews from prior sitters, there was even more that looked very sketchy. I have no idea whether TH did anything or if the host is still posting. I would not pay a security deposit to anyone.

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@Angela-CommunityManager It would be great to hear an update on the official stance on the security deposit issue. Is it allowed?

If so, I wonder if putting some parameters put in place would help to keep things clear for everyone - e.g., a security deposit would be separate from any payment for utilities.

@Lindsay @Angela-CommunityManager was tagged 4 hours ago and will reply to the question when she is next online on the forum and when her workload permits. Similar to all other jobs, she has to prioritize her workload each day.

Francine,
Voluntary Forum Moderator

@Snowbird I was replying to a post from March 16th that said there would be an update. I wasn’t expecting an immediate response. I really don’t see the point of your post and, if I’m honest don’t appreciate the tone.

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Ooops, apologies, I thought it was referring to someone else.

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