When it's less than a 5-star sit

First of all, the people are very easygoing and friendly. I don’t want to hurt their feelings by leaving negative comments. But maybe before I leave I’ll mention some of the negatives to them. The main one is that the apartment is not soundproofed so you hear all the other tenants, especially noisy ones upstairs who scrape furniture over the floor at literally all hours; and you hear all their toilet flushes like a waterfall behind the wall, and there is jackhammering going on on the parking lot. I’m badly short of sleep as all this keeps waking me. The handover was only about 90 minutes with minimal instructions. It’s not “awful”, but, in comparison to my first two sits, it’s just not the same kind of experience. I could leave a generous 4-star review, but again, don’t want to create bad feeling – they are nice people and the noise isn’t their fault, but future sitters should be aware.
I did see a similar thread that’s 2 years old; I admit to not reading all 300? replies.
Has the review process been updated now to resemble Airbnbs?
What’s a tactful way to address the negative points?


The reviews process is still being looked at.
I would leave a review and I recommend @Colin method of a ‘positive sandwich’.
Start with the good things such as the friendly homeowners, location and the pets etc.
Mention any negative points in the middle such as the noise from adjoining properties. I would certainly have an issue with that as I am also a light sleeper. Some people may not but at least if you mention it future sitters can make an informed choice.
Finish off with a positive sentence.
Unfortunately sitters don’t have the facility to mark homeowners on individual categories so you would just have to give an overall rating. Hope this helps.


It is different reading about it (doesn’t sound terrible) and living it (I would hate it, I hate such noise). This is a tough one. I feel it’s not the owners’ fault so you can’t really deduct a star. But I would absolutely mention the noise in my review, perhaps at the end, after the positives. Don’t go into too much detail, just say it can get noisy at times and the place isn’t soundproof. This should be enough to warn other sitters, whom it might impact if noise bothers them.

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I agree with @botvot that you can’t penalize the owners for noisy neighbors, or other things outside their control. I would mention it in my review, and would appreciate that as someone who is a light sleeper. I might say “the apartment has thin walls, so I could hear a lot of the neighbors’ activities. Future sitters who are light sleepers or are sensitive to noise could bring ear plus or noise-cancelling headphones.”


I agree with @Lassie, and love her phrasing of what you can write in the feedback.

This kinda sounds like standard big city apartment living, and the hosts have zero control over the noise.
Jackhammering is terrible to listen to, but it’s often not the case that a host would know ahead of time when the city (or a neighboring building) is going to do construction work.

My mom (a THS host) did know ahead of time about local road construction that was planned during a sit she was planning. She told the sitter, and the sitter decided to decline. It turned out that the noise wasn’t really noticeable inside the house, but it was prudent and kind for my mom to have warned the sitter before confirming.

I’ve lived in many apartments where it never really gets quiet. You get used to it if you love the location, or you learn to do your due diligence re: noise levels before moving into your next place!

For people who want to sit in apartment buildings but have a low noise tolerance, it’s wise to seek out top floor and corner apartments. Sometimes hosts mention this in their listings, and of course you can always ask.

For most sits, I find 90 minutes to be plenty of time for a handover, if a welcome guide of some sort is filled out. (But I’ve already asked most of my important questions before the handover, and have a list on me of any in-person questions that need addressing.)
Some hosts can be a little skimpy with details, so I always make sure to check my list of important questions before they leave!

If it were me, I wouldn’t deduct stars, but I would tactfully mention the noise, for future sitters.


Just a quick tip about “night noise”. We have found that a white noise machine is invaluable when traveling. They are small and easily packable, we even take it on cruises. We like the “fan” sound, but there are others to choose from and has volume control. Of course, you can still hear some background noise, but it’s not the constant quiet, and the Bam of a door slamming, toilet flushing, or an air conditioner turning on or off. It helps keep those sudden noises from awakening you.

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I think if you sit in an apartment then unfortunately you should expect some noise. I get that a sitter may not sleep well if not used to it. My last sit and my one next week both mentioned they live on a very busy road but so do I when not sitting so not an issue although on my last sit the people in the downstairs apartment woke me up at 2am by er having some noisy ‘fun’ shall we say!!

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I second using white noise. I use an app on my phone rather than a separate device but I’ve found it so helpful to not be woken by unfamiliar noises like a clock ticking or HVAC kicking on and off.

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I think this is all super subjective but in my experience with apartment sits in a city I anticipate that there’s going to be more noise. I would advise getting a good pair of noise canceling headphones, ear plugs and a you can use a white noise app or something like that.

This might be a case where you simply don’t leave a review…Or leave a 5/5 review with a quick note that it may not be ideal for those more sensitive to noise. Until the review system gets a much needed overhaul it’s probably best to let your opinions kindly and discreetly known to the owner as it seems like your planning to already. Like you said tho, it’s not really their fault and it might be a tad bit harsh to criticize something like that by demoting them a thumbs up/star.

@Twitcher I can’t believe after 2 years the review process is “still being looked at”. Wow!

Interesting to hear perspectives. No, it’s not the owners’ fault. But compared to other sits it’s just not the same level of experience, and sitters should absolutely know what to expect. I have left out other details that also make it a less pleasant sit than previous ones.
LOL at trying to sleep with headphones. “White noise machine” would drive me nuts. I have heavy-duty silicone earplugs, the kind that jam right in and seal. I always travel with them. Ain’t nuthin’ that will out-noise-cancel those.
Oh well. I’ll mention it to them and we’ll see how it goes.

‘It’s not the owners’ fault, so you can’t really deduct a star’. Is that necessarily true? Is the rating for sitter experience, or for host effort? To express gratitude to the home owner, or to inform others sitters about the quality of the sit?

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Unfortunately as sitters we are unable to rate individual aspects of a sit (unlike homeowners) - so until we can it has to be an overall rating. Personally I ‘score’ on my personal sitting experience.

Hopefully that is coming soon…

@Sunshine_G yes! This has been my point. It seems most don’t agree. Homeowner effort vs. sit experience? We get rated on our performance as sitters, and rightly so, but other potential sitters should be informed about the experience.
If the homeowners are the sweetest people you ever met, left you treats and did everything to make you comfortable in their home, but there are drug deals and gang fights going on next-door, neighbourhood noise never stops, and one of the pets bit you, do you still give them five stars because the people were nice? NOT my experience… Just a hypothetical extreme example of things that are not the HO’s fault, and how far that defence could go.
Anyway, not here to start an argument and the question seems to be controversial; mods feel free to delete the thread if you wish.
I’ll think further about the stars, take the advice about the “positive sandwich“, and move on.

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The original poster has received the feedback they were looking for, so this topic will now be closed.