“Do finish off anything that’s in the fridge”
But when I look and it’s perishables well out of date, do I
- thank them and bin the items as soon as they’ve left? or
- leave the items (assuming we’re only there for a few days) as a hint that we don’t eat well out of date food.
I know there is much debate around the difference between labels such as “use by” and “best before” but would I risk finishing off, say, an opened pack of smoked salmon which should have been consumed 10 days ago? No thanks - having to walk the dog whilst suffering an upset tum is not my idea of fun.
If it doesn’t stink I would leave it in the fridge (maybe they like stinky salmon, the same way we, french people, love stinky cheese ?).
If it is not even open I would just leave it in the fridge.
But I think there is a very different way of running your fridge depending which part of the world you leave in. We only sat twice for american people and I must say I was amazed by the amount of food that were in the fridge (most of it out of date !). For me cleanliness of the fridge is far more important than tidiness of the floor… but not easy to spy with a video call !!
@Françoise-et-Youn yes a grubby fridge with out of date food really puts me off…and when you can’t even find space for your own food and then find the HO has not cleared one drawer or hanging space in the bedroom for you…I make a mental note not to go back…a little courtesy goes along way for any HO reading this who want sitters to do repeat sits and surely that works to your benefit as you don’t need to keep doing a first-time detailed hand-over, you can go away knowing that the place will be looked after because the sitter came before and left the place clean and tidy, AND most importantly your animals don’t have a string of people looking after them. You know it makes sense.
@Düsenzofe thank you and have a great day wherever you are.
I try to remember to ask for empty shelves in fridges/freezers, hanging and drawer space, but sometimes I don’t if they have had numerous sitters with good feedback. Then I arrive frustrated at the lack of space and I always apply for larger houses to ensure some space.
I remember your comment in that HOs think you live in a cupboard. I also think that they assume you will not be bringing any clothes with you.
Thank you for sharing this Colin
I’m a little stupefied at some of the stories here and while people are joking about “team fridge cleaning” are sitters really expected to also be unpaid house cleaners?
The fridge and freezer should have been cleaned out and space made for the sitters food. This seems a common sense courtesy. Do situations arise so that this doesn’t get done for a sitter? Sure, but then the HO should apologize and explain the extenuating circumstances that prevented them from leaving an acceptable sitting situation.
Sitters should not be taken advantage of. Boarding an animal, hiring sitters and housekeepers who water gardens, take in mail, etc, are all ordinarily rather costly and here they receive these things at no cost.
These exchanges are supposed to be a win-win scenario, and many certainly are, but they all should be. There shouldn’t be this many stories of unpleasant and unacceptable situations.
I agree these should be a rating system that does not risk retaliation.
@Jaja I like your ideas.
A brainstorm idea…
Sitters can leave a review that’s public and also private comments visible only to HO (perhaps this is what others mean by the Airbnb model). As a HO I would WANT the feedback, but would not want to be publicly shamed.
In addition - sitters could leave a star rating (maybe also comments) that are visible only to other sitters
Hi @pdr the review system is in discussion and during the discussions the team will consider all member feedback the aim is to have a fair system that works for everyone. So please keep posting suggestions and ideas.
I’ve been housesitting regularly for three years and have never left a bad review up until now. There have been niggles (lack of fridge/cupboard space/desk), but never anything worth losing sleep over and the positives have always outweighed the negatives. I have always received good reviews and several HO’s have invited me back for repeat sits.
However, I will be leaving a negative review for my current HO, because my personal safety is involved. I am overseas and the HO has changed his travel plans and informed me I must leave three nights before our agreed date. Our end of sit handover arrangements were made in person , when we met at the start of the sit and I drove him to the airport. It was not documented and he had not provided me with a welcome pack, but I was not concerned at that point, as he had walked me through the house (boiler/wifi/security fence etc) and I had no reason to not trust him.
He has now changed his travel plans and I am left without accommodation at short notice. His behaviour in emails has been abusive (he wrote that I was “confrontational” and “irrational”). He has denied all knowledge of our arrangements - even saying he was not expecting me to pick him up from the airport.
The Trusted Housesitter desk have tried to help, but have told me (verbally, not in writing) that, as it is his home, there is little they can do. They have asked him to formally change the date of the sit on the platform. But that is little help to me.
I thought I was experienced at house sitting and knew what questions to ask. Unfortunately, this experience has left me feeling very stressed and vulnerable. Fortunately, I have transport and a credit card. But I would not want to put any other house sitter in this position and for that reason, I feel I have a responsibility to the community to leave a negative review.
It’s quite typical that homeowners don’t leave space for clothes, unfortunately. In some small spaces we’ve also had the problem with the cat-box stench, but not too often. It also happens quite regularly that the homeowners have a change of plans (usually they allow us to stay for the agreed time, though in one case that wasn’t possible). But definitely communication is vital, also about the dog not being trained to do it’s business outside (we’ve only had this 2-3 times, I think the owners also didn’t tell us). We have done 50+ sits, most of those didn’t have any of those problems, so we wish you some better experiences in the future!
Hi @Cookiedog I’m sorry that a negative experience in your current sit brings you to the forum on checking with Membership Services I can see that you’ve had assistance and guidance from Conor and Laura and that the dates have been amended by the owner.
I’m going to send you a Direct Message.
@cookiedog What an uncomfortable and unfortunate situation! It is definitely concerning and I support you 100% in leaving an honest review about your experience. Asking sitters to leave early - especially if/when significant travel is involved is unfair. At a minimum, the HO should have offered to pay for your accommodations. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I hope you will have extra nice sits soon to restore your confidence in sitting.
I hope that you are OK, @Cookiedog
As with everything there are 2 sides to every story. I agree wholeheartedly with you that the sitter is responsible for due diligence through questions and video chat (I ask for interior house photos as they are mostly missing and tell a tale by themselves).
On the other hand some things will not be assessable through these means like a filthy toilet brush, unclean bathroom surfaces, no room in refrigerator, washer, dryer or closet, sticky appliances, smelly litter box- all of which we have experienced.
Therefore I support a check list for owners to make it easier for sitters to spare feelings yet get the honest word out to other sitters.
Thank you for such an honest and necessary comment. I found the same thing at Airbnb. The HO write listings as if everything is tidy, clean and in place when we know it is not true. Thank you very much.
This happened to me - an owner deciding to return some days early - and they got me a nearby B&B that they paid for. I think TH ought to tell owners this is expected of them in case of early return.
There was a sit, in my past where the HO tried to manipulate and had a lot of questions like “it looks like you moved the remoter, did you drop it?” And I answered that yes, I moved it since I cleaned the dust under it.
Also, the apartment of the same sit was very dirty when I’ve arrived and I spent two days cleaning, for 5 days sit.
So I just never left feedback because I’m afraid to get a bad one back as well. So I prefer to leave it as is. The HO also never left me a review and honestly, I’m still afraid since the HO felt to be not so stable mentally. I know I did great and I did my best to make it all go perfectly well, but the HO wasn’t an easy person. He treated me mostly like I work for him
I wouldn’t recommend anyone to come sit for him and I feel bad for speaking the truth, but even a 4 stars review will affect me very badly, so I just left it without feedback at all.
So yes, no feedbacks from previous sitters is a huge red flag for any housesit.