Requesting reference contact

We’re new to the platform. Signed up in 2021 and used it once then. Now back to use it again in 2023 for our second time.

During our first search in 2021 we asked potential sitters for a personal reference that we could contact and everyone was happy to provide one. But, during our new search in 2023 multiple potential sitters have responded that it is very unusual for us to ask for a personal reference that we can contact. One sitter directly saying they would not sit for us because we asked for a reference.

Is it so out of the ordinary to ask to be able to directly contact a personal reference? We only asked for an email address, not a phone number or their home mailing address. I understand that THS has a vetting process but we are giving up our home and our ‘family’ member to someone who is a complete stranger to us and our pet. I have seen multiple posts discussing asking for a copy of an government issue ID or a copy of a passport. I’m just asking to be able to email someone who will, presumably, provide a glowing reference. If a sitter asked us I would happily pass along a reference.

Our we in the wrong?

Thanks for any feedback.


I’m a sitter with THS and I wouldn’t be bothered in the least if a homeowner asked to email or phone another homeowner that I’ve sat for. I haven’t been asked this so far but I have a lot of reviews now. I was asked to provide a copy of my driver’s licence when I was a fairly new sitter with THS and I was ok with that as well. Perhaps a number of sitters think that their reviews should be sufficient enough and wonder why a homeowner is asking for more.


I would be fine with it too.


I’m currently on my 56th sit and have never been asked for contact details for one of my refererees, even the first few times I sat. It would be unusual to ask but I would have been happy to provide details in the early stages of my housesitting life, not now though as hopefully my reviews speak for themselves. I do understand that you would be nervous initially and when I started out I was able to visit a few of the home owners before I sat for them which gave them confidence. That’s not always possible though if the sitter lives some distance away.


I am a new HO/sitter. I have 4 character references on our sitter profile. No sit reviews yet…as our first sit is late Feb.

I would refer you to our character references. And if after we chatted, you still felt that you needed something other than more interaction beyond me directly to help you decide…I would politely say that I think another sitter maybe better for you and wish you well in your search.

Sitters are also vetting HO’s in the process.
Sitters that decline your request are fine for doing so; it doesn’t mean they are suspect.

You should do what you think is best for you (within the THS polices) and there will be a sitter that fits and will feel you fit with them.


I also found that this podcast helped me make the final decision to join. They also have a comprehensive blog as well that I found helpful.

Episode 8 is the one I recommend.

Never come across this. Thanks for sharing

I have been asked to do this only once in 9 years of sitting. I did it, but felt that I was being a nuisance by asking the HO for another reference, when they had already provided one. I probably wouldn’t do it again. TH references can’t be faked, so I think they should be enough. Just my opinion.


We would be fine with you asking for one “fresh” personal reference if you really wanted it and it was a complex sit. If sitters are new then it’s understandable but if they have lots already (we have 26 on THS) then it would seem an odd request especially if you only have a few yourself.


We have been asked once or twice, earlier in our housesitting career. I didn’t bother me at all, as we were proud of all our previous jobs and happily obliged.

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I think it is a perfectly reasonable request and I wouldn’t have a problem with it.


Newer sitters seem more likely to oblige, while experienced sitters find the request uncommon. Probably those who comment on the forum are overly obliging.


  • Did you request a reference up front or much later in the process?
  • Did you volunteer references when you posed the question?
  • Do those rejecting you have many references?
  • Do you have many references?

Experienced sitters have pointed out this is not a common request and different sitters have different comfort levels. I would be worried what other requests you have have following before and during the sit.


Personally I won’t do it. I feel it is an invasion of privacy of the previous homeowners I sat for, to contact them out of the blue to ask if they can supply another reference, after they have already done so. A lot of sits are only short and there is no special “bond” built up with owner and sitter, therefore I don’t feel I personally know that person well enough to contact them long after a sit has ended to ask them for such a favour. As someone mentioned, TH reviews are all verified and cannot be just written by random people so these reviews should be taken as gospel. Again, personally, I have found that those that ask for such a request can sometimes turn out to be the most uncomfortable sits.


Interesting. We’ve never been asked. BUT, we visit most before we sit and we set up the physical visit after a zoom meeting with the homeowners. So we actually spend an hour at their home, while they assess us and give us a tour and we talk. Then we suggest if all is copasetic, that they send us the invite to sit which we accept. Each homeowner has to make sure they feel good about their choice. If you think someone is hesitating to give a reference, then move on to someone who will do this.

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Hi @ClaudiaDub. Welcome to our community here in the forum. I’m glad you found us and have joined our conversations. Thanks for your advice for FishtownCk.

We have never been asked for a reference. While we have nothing to hide, we would decline your request asking for a reference. It is invasive for us and for any past home owner. This is about trust but you need to go with what feels best for you, as we do. If our reviews and our video conversation is not enough for a home owner and they wanted a reference, we would withdraw our application and move on as we would feel we were not being trusted from the outset.


Hello @FishtownCk and welcome to the Community Forum :wave:t2::slightly_smiling_face:

My hubby and I would be happy to provide personal references if we were to be asked and would quite happily provide DBS (police) checks, copies of passports, whatever puts the homeowners mind at ease. However it is unusual to be asked for any of this information because we have several references and reviews on our profile. We have only been asked once so far for DBS, passports etc before a sit and we were very happy to provide this information. Of course you can always do a video call with a potential sitter as well and this will hopefully also reassure you when making a decision.


Hello @ClaudiaDub and welcome to the Community Forum :wave:t2::slightly_smiling_face:

…it’s so nice that you found us and that you are helping a fellow community member :blush:

Very unusual indeed. I’ve never heard of it before; can only imagine doing so for very new sitters, who haven’t built up references yet. I would decline the request as my references from 8 years of sitting via THS should speak for themselves, complemented with our correspondence/video interview. And I don’t want to bother past HOs, who as some have pointed out, I don’t necessarily know very well.


I love the connections I’ve made at THS and I might write a few stories because they are so funny and/or uplifting.

I think the community forum is a great resource!!

No wrong answers really, Just a place to share experiences. :relaxed: