Workmen in home during sit

Just found out an upcoming sit will have construction going on while I’m there. The HO called me to tell me that they are having the master bathroom remodeled and the work would be done while I’m there. She asked if I was ok with this. I’m not, but it’s not like I could say no, if I said no then I would be cancelling the sit (which makes me look bad). It’s a month long sit and I’m a nomadic sitter so cancelling would leave me scrambling to make other arrangements for a month.

The HO said I didn’t need to be there during the day while the work is taking place (this is a cat sit). I work online so I will have to find some other place to work during the day. I also have concerns about workmen being there while the HO is gone. What if they break something or don’t do the work correctly? What if one of the cats gets injured? If I’m gone during the day there isn’t anyone looking out for the cats. I’m sure I’ll have to do a lot of extra cleaning after they are done too. Also, they will have a key which makes me uncomfortable as a solo female sitter.

I was really looking forward to this sit and now I’m dreading it.

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@systaran , this is against THS policy. There are supposed to be no third parties in the home during the sit. Occasionally, a cleaning person may be allowed if cleared with the sitter but not workmen inside the home, especially for any extended period. You may want to discuss this with membership services who can follow up with the HO.

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Hi @systaran this goes against the TrustedHousesitters T&C’s, we have a strict no third party at any sit. I’m tagging @Therese-Moderator from our membership services team who can help assist you with this when she’s online next.

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No, tell them no

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It’s a damned cheek, that’s what it is. The H.O. should not have made arrangements for work to be done whilst they are not there. Your comments about safety of the cat, cleaning and responsibility for breakages etc are valid. I would cancel the sit but I understand you might have difficulties. Quite a disgusting situation and I speak as as a H.O. only.

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Your reasons are totally valid and it’s OK to communicate your concern. We have also had workmen coming on two sits. During one sit there was some water damage discovered so it really was unexpected for us and the HO, but the handyman didn’t do a proper job and the HO ended up suing him. It’s good that we didn’t get dragged into it, but it could have very well happened (e.g. that we would have to travel back there and testify). PS: It’s also helpful to look at it from a different angle. Would your HO be comfortable if you said just before the start of the sit that you have invited people to stay over with you?

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I’ve been asked in the past and just said no, the HO didn’t go through the works.

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Don’t worry about hurting feelings, or being assertive. Clearly lay out your concerns - all of which are totally valid - and say no. This is not what had been agreed to and the HO can have the work done when they’re back. You’re there for the cat, not for tradespeople, or for any other reason.

Expecting that a sitter will live and work in a building site isn’t okay, it’s incredibly disrespectful.

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@systaran I feel upset with you. What a cheek. It is incredibly stressful to try and prevent an indoor cat from escaping while strangers come and go throughout the day and noise levels soar, we had it once or twice. Never again unless it’s an emergency!

Hopefully you will find other sits to fill the gap. I hate it when you’ve looked forward to a nice, steady sit, then something wobbles to make the pieces fall. Or maybe they won’t go through with the work if you threaten to pull out or explain your concerns. But it’s a concern for their cat too! If they just go with another sitter, their cat could still escape!

Oh and we usually don’t wear shoes in the house as we like very clean floors! The stress of having visitors in and out with shoes, oh my heart!

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Hi @systaran and thank you @Julie-Moderator.
I will email you directly from membership services.
Best wishes
Therese

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Thanks for all the feedback, it’s very helpful. I’m concerned that if I get them to reschedule their construction are they going to give me a bad review for not going along with what they wanted me to do? I haven’t been sitting that long and only have a few reviews. All it takes is one bad review and I won’t be able to get anymore sits.

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It’s not to be ruled out, but it would be unfair and unreasonable of them. You might have a better sense of their personality. We have had one situation where the HO didn’t write a review because the sitters who took over from us left the place messy (1 month after we left), another one gave us a lower rating in a sub category because we forgot an item in the flat. Both times we didn’t have a very good feeling about the hosts, it’s best to follow your instincts.

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I’m very sorry about your situation as I’d feel exactly as you do. I’ve been in your position as well so I know very well how it feels. A couple of years ago, I’d just started a sit when the owner casually texted me from abroad to say that workmen would be coming later on that week to sort out the kitchen. No mention whatsoever about this beforehand. I had even made a point of asking if there would be any third parties in the property and was told only the cleaner which I was fine with. I am also a solo female sitter so I did not feel at all comfortable having workmen in the house while I was on my own. I did have some work Zoom calls during the day which were completely messed up.

The very fact that an owner thinks this is in any way OK would raise some real concerns for me I must admit. I’d be worried about what others ‘surprises’ might get sprung on me out of nowhere. After what I went through that time, taking on a house sit with this added extra is a massive no no for me. I really feel that is something a home owner ought to be overseeing themselves and not dumping this onto a pet-sitter.

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This has happened to us on more than one occasion and we have told the HO that it is not OK and they need to reschedule, pointing out that it is against THS rules. They have rescheduled and each time we received a good review.
It became apparent from chatting to the gardener that one of these couples always organised tradesmen when they were away as they didn’t want to deal with the mess.
Just be assertive

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I also had to say no to tradesmen coming in during a solo sit. When told it was against TrustedHousesitters terms and conditions, the pet parent rescheduled the work. Our relationship was fine after that. In fact, the pet parent has asked me back more than once since then! And they left me a glowing review.

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Update: I sent the HO a nice message outlining my concerns and also mentioning that this is against THS policies. She has agreed to reschedule the work. So, hopefully, the sit will turn out to be great.

I really wish that all HOs would look at things from the sitters perspective before asking us to do things that aren’t appropriate or simply weren’t agreed to. Especially right before the sit starts, or worse, when we arrive at the sit. It puts us in a really awkward position. It’s difficult to say no when we’ve already confirmed the sit and made travel arrangements.

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I sympathise with your predicament.

I have never had that situation arise yet. The most I had was when there was landscaping work being done outdoors in the back garden and it did not involve letting the worker into the house. Also the front of one house was being painted, and that also did not involve workers entering the house.

Quite a few homes had weekly or fortnightly cleaners, and the host always checked with me first if it was okay that they could come into the house.

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Good on you for holding your ground. And great that the work is rescheduled. I’m pretty sure that if an HO left a bad review simply because you followed THS rules then they would have to step in & stand up for you! Hope it all works out :muscle:

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Hi @systaran. You did the right thing. I’d not want workmen in the house while cat sitting as that’s too much responsibility for me. Also like you I work remotely sometimes taking calls or video chats so would have had to find somewhere quieter.

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Oh, that’s great news! I’m so pleased that you spoke up and that it’s been sorted out.

These power imbalances are always so painful. It’s meant to be a nice exchange!

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