How does Trusted Housesitters ensure the safety and privacy of a sitter?
Good question… I don’t know if they’ve changed it but I’d sure like to see TH have the same verification requirements for owners as for sitters – I’ve suggested it in feedback before, and the response was that the owners are taking a bigger risk by having a stranger in their house. Well, we don’t know whose house we’re gonna be in either, so…
Maybe in your messages with the HO before the sit you could ask something like “Among the responsibilities I’ll have, will I need to launder the bedding when I arrive?” – they might take the hint and let you know they’ll do it.
Dunno what to think about the cameras. Potential for it… but you could have that in an Airbnb too.
Although it is in the T & Cs that internal cameras are not allowed, I always ask the HO in my initial question “Are you aware that the Code of Conduct states that Internal Cameras and Third Parties are not allowed?”
Welcome @Ghazellé to the forum and to your pet-sitting journey.
We are new to THS this year and are currently enjoying our fourth sit . So far all the homes have been lovely and clean , including the bedroom and bed linens.
Before applying for a sit we take a thorough look at the photos on the listing. ( someone who hasn’t bothered to make the bed or pick up rubbish from the floor for the listing photos is a no for us )
We also take time to read all feedback from previous sitters to see if they mention any issues .
We ask for a video call before agreeing to sit . These are just a few ways we use to discover any possible issues that wouldn’t suit us before committing to a sit .
Hello @Ghazellé and a warm welcome to the Community Forum
I have attached a link for you for the policy regarding cameras and recording devices, I hope this helps to clarify for you.
To confirm for you, In our Terms and Conditions, our Camera & Recording Devices Policy states that during a sit no internal recording or monitoring devices can be enabled.
For reference as a member and once your listing is completed you can also add your TrustedHousesitters profile on to your Forum profile by following the attached link, should you wish. This will then enable others to offer you helpful advice and feedback.
If you are unsure how to do this, or if you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask, we are all more than happy to help.
I have attached some additional links as you are just starting out on your house sitting journey
Also, remember you can use the spyglass symbol at the top of the page next to the TrustedHousesitters logo and search for any questions that you may have as they have most likely already been answered on here and of course if not then please just ask!
I have attached a thread below, it would be great if you could join in with this as we think you could offer great feedback and would be a great addition
It’s really really rare (see my notes below).
But that is one of the BIG reasons for video chats with a HO before agreeing to a sit. If they are being cagey about showing you the home, maybe a red flag? Most important: read notes from previous sitters. Look for “code” words. If the previous sitters call it “very relaxed” that might mean…
Honestly, we have found the vast majority of HO are very considerate about leaving things pleasant for a sitter & of course expect the same courtesy when they return.
Only ONE time have we taken a sit, and the HO clearly didn’t understand the win-win arrangement: full disclosure it was via a different org, not THS.
A bit shocked to arrive on the day requested only to be told we should find a hotel & come back at 7 AM for the keys as they had an early flight.
After a hurried exchange and request to drive them to the airport, returned to find dirty dishes,fridge full of way past due stuff to be tossed, used linens in the bedroom & dirty towels in the WC. Spent our first day cleaning up. They came back to a clean house & fresh food in the fridge: they had the nerve to complain we hadn’t dusted in the rooms they specifically asked us NOT to enter.
Closest after that was a home where the owners changed the start & end date multiple times, arrived to a bit of chaos but not bad.
So not going to say it cannot happen but - it’s NEVER happened again!
We have once sat in a home that had security cameras inside & outside.
Inside were in the living room & kitchen. TBH I was not comfortable with that arrangement even though they swore they wouldn’t have them on.
I’m a single female sitter and have never felt unsafe (or had dirty bedding). There’s definitely an element of trust and a need for adaptability with petsitting, on both sides. But you can learn a lot from a listing and by talking to the homeowners before accepting a sit. If you’re worried about cameras there are apps that will detect what devices are connected to a network, which can identify if there are cameras being monitored- Fling is one. There can never be guarantees that you won’t encounter issues, so it’s also wise to really consider if petsitting is something you feel comfortable with.
All my sits the homes have been very clean with clean bedding and towels provided. That said, I do scrutinize pics carefully as well as reviews and rule out places that look like they might be cluttered. Since I’m usually driving, I’ve always thrown my own sheets in my car just in case as I’m really picky about sheets and can’t stand synthetic fabrics.
Re: cameras, I always ask. I would be totally ok with external cameras (like ring cameras) as long as informed, though I’ve yet to encounter it… Internal cameras absolutely not! I usually just ask in a very neutral way “are there any cameras or other security devices I should know about?”
I’m a single woman and have always felt safe, though I must say I have avoided applying for sits where the host is a single man (unless he happened to disclose in the listing that he was not straight, then I’d be fine with it). That’s just not comfortable to me esp since I’m usually invited to stay the night before and across my life have often received unwanted male attention…so my guard is super up for that, perhaps more than it needs to be but I just don’t want that worry that I’ll get hit on or be in an uncomfortable position.
I have sat for single women and straight/gay couples thus far, and everyone has been absolutely delightful and feel I made friends with all of them!
70 plus sits and never had an issue about clean houses, fresh bedding or cameras.
Communication and due diligence is the key. Ask the questions and listen to the answers carefully. If your not happy, reject and start again.
As others mentioned, providing clean bedding/towels and even basic toiletries should be common knowledge. Not something that needs to be requested. I always try to leave all the essentials you would have in a hotel +more, and treat my sitters as I would like to be treated if I was in their place. And of course I would expect that same level of respect back for my home. This is an exchange of service.
When I first joined THS the no camera policy wasn’t part of the T & C at the time, and even then, I would respect my sitter’s privacy and only asked my first sitter to set it up if she was going to be gone and away from my dog (who was a 6 month old puppy at the time) and gave her full access to the app so she could monitor him (not me).
Since then we’ve always put it away in one of the drawers and turn it off, since he’s fully potty trained and we know he’s okay being alone for a max x number of hrs.
One sitter who was aware we had a camera as we were putting away when she arrived, decided to set it up one night, text us to let us know she was going to party (we were already asleep) and left our dog alone overnight, but that’s a whole different crazy story.
We have a ring camera outside that notifies me when there is someone walking in front of our steps/doors late at night because we’ve had packages and things stolen before, and this is Chicago. We also have a smart lock which records the history in the app (notifications are only on past midnight when we’re home), but these are things we’ve made our sitters aware of in the initial meet and greet video calls. The ring camera out front notifying me late at night its how I’ve found out that a couple of times we’ve been lied to and our dog has been left alone for a long time -afternoon/night (more than the time we listed in our profile and welcome guide and agreed to)… OR they’re walking my dog in the middle of the night because they were gone all day, which is not safe for them or my dog. So while I don’t want sitters to think they’re being monitored, I also hope sitters here understand that trust can be hard for people who have been let down by other sitters before. I try my best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they disappoint me (even then I question whether I may be overreacting). I believe from my first few experiences and some of the members I’ve interacted with in this forum that the majority of sitters will not disappoint and the well being of the pets is the highest priority.
I think it’s safe to ask the HO of any cameras and if you find out they’re lying and have an indoor camera on, you should notify member services. Oh and by the way most indoor/outdoor cameras will have a red/green/white light on when they’re recording… just something to keep an eye out on.
@wendy_chicago Wow, wow, wow! Sitters coming and going at all hours, leaving your dog alone for many hours, and walking your dog in the middle of the night! If walls could talk…that would certainly break the trust for me too.
Who would do that? If that happened to me, I would stick with older Sitters and mature couples.
@PVGemini Yeah the overnight party girl was young but it was a couple in their mid/late 30s who were coming in and out and walking my dog late at night. My dog was fine, he was in his home taking naps, but his routine was messed with so he was waking up super early or acting restless at night.
Both times I think I could have done a better job vetting sitters. The first one the dates were not posted early enough because it was a last minute planned trip (we were getting sick of the winter and needed to get away) so I was nervous and confirmed even though I had my doubts, and the second I was sold on the fact that she volunteered at an animal shelter, so I trusted that she would prioritize my dog’s needs and routine. Previous times though, everyone was great but as we continue to say… the 5 application rule and new people joining for what they think is a free Airbnb is hurting the quality of the THS experience.
60+ sits and only once was the house not as clean as I would have liked. And that was where I had to put the clean sheets on the bed as well.
A few sits where there were cameras which were disclosed. I generally cover them but once a camera and monitor was for the dog to see and be seen and that was okay with me so long as I knew where it was.
If their dog is on the same schedule as you and they’re in a safe town, I don’t see the problem.
If you decide to travel to a big city and want to run the risk of being shot by car shootings or mugged (and steal a little dog)… yeah, that’s a big problem. My neighborhood is fairly safe but once in a while we’ve heard these things happen.