Advice on writing a '3-star review' for a 5-star sitter

I’m looking for advice on writing a 3-star review for a 5-star sitter.

  1. I asked for no “swipe right” guests; they had at least 3 in our home. In addition, a friend of theirs showed up with their suitcase and stayed for 7 days, sometimes left alone in our home while the sitter walked our dog. (We have a Ring doorbell)

  2. Yes, I feel that our dog was well cared for except for gaining about 2 lbs when we had specific feeding amounts and asked to limit table food.

  3. There is also a bowl from our dish set missing, I assume was broken, but there is no mention of it.

I have not let them know of my concerns/disappointment around these items. I need to write a review. Do I keep it general regarding the guests as that is my biggest grievance? Do I give them a heads-up? I don’t want to end up in a back-and-forth in the replies to the review.

In all honesty, had I read in their reviews that they had houseguests, I would not have selected this sitter. I feel, for future owners, this information is valuable when considering this person as a sitter.

Thank you for any feedback on what feels like a delicate matter.


Sorry that this happened to you. Sounds upsetting to say the least.

Could you clarify in what way the person was a 5 star sitter?

If she had guests over without your permission, you’ll do others a favour by mentioning it in your review. It might turn ugly and she might reply in a nasty way, but these things do pass.

If you have proof of what she did you could also formally complain to THS, but you’ll have to send them texts, videos, messages, photos etc as proof.


Be objective. List what they did that merits the review:
Guests in violation of your clear and written policy. Even more serious, a guest you didn’t know who was responsible for dog care – that in my opinion is the most problematic and problably should be reported to THS.
Dog weight gain – actually a serious health issue and the thing I’d be most peeved about, especially if you left explicit rules and feeding instructions. Also indicates possibility of not enough exercise.
Broken dish not mentioned – relatively minor given the other stuff.

Sounds like some of the different stuff goes into different categories. I’d deduct to a 3 for petcare for sure for the weight gain.

Reliable is also 3 or maybe 2 with the accusation that an unknown guest was actually sitting part of the time.

The sitter will have a right to respond of course.

Just wondering: Given the camera, did you see what was happening and choose not to respond for fear of upsetting the sitter during your vacation? Sounds like a very tough position to be in.


Write the appropriate review and just stick with the facts!


Hi @ChicagoGracie

From your post you come across as a diplomatic person, capable of writing a factual review of what sounds as though it could have been a somewhat emotive situation, and also aware of the potentially damaging effect that a 3-star review may have for a 5-star sitter.

Would you consider sending a draft version of your review to your sitter, offering the opportunity for them to explain themselves? You never know, there may just be a legitimate reason for the visitors - despite your instructions. I know reviews are meant to be ‘blind’, but in this situation it could avoid an ugly scenario that ends up negatively affecting both sitter and homeowner reviews.

From a homeowner’s point of view, I can completely understand why you might feel that the ‘trusted’ part of Trusted Housesitters has fallen by the wayside if someone has ignored explicit instructions. If your sitter is unable to adequately explain themselves, then absolutely it’s something that other homeowners should be made aware of. But go with your gut instinct of keeping it general regarding the guests – anything too specific could come across as a bit of an assumption and detract from the main point of your review, which is that this person has knowingly gone against your wishes in several areas of the assignment.


I didn’t see the guest had arrived until 3 days into their arrival. The guest stayed for 7 days and left the day before we returned.

So then I went back in Ring to the start of the visit and saw 3 other guests, each who stayed for about 20-50 mins. The energy was very much hook-up culture which I specifically ask not to do in our home.

We get notifications on our phone and we were out of the country in a different time zone.

I didn’t say anything because we were about 2/3 finished with our trip and I felt in a vulnerable position, worried that if I said anything it would worsen matters somehow.

Thank you for your feedback and advice for the review.


Definitely sounds like a 3 star review is appropriate for the various guests that weren’t discussed. Just for balance, did the sitter know about the camera and that it would be messaging you? Also, have you asked the sitter about your dog’s weight gain and whether they were following instructions in terms of feeding in case there is some additional context (not enough excercise, stress, digestion issues) you should be aware of? In terms of the missing bowl, unless it was a set they were asked not to use I’d suggest not bringing that up. Of course they should have told you but breakages do happen and presumably if the visitor and weight issue weren’t a factor you wouldn’t be deducting stars for the bowl alone.


Just write a review stating the facts. Someone who brings guests to your house, without asking permission, is not a 5 star sitter.


The issue with discussing the problems or giving heads up on your 3 star review with the sitter is that now that gives them the option of writing a retaliatory review for you even though you might not deserve it. Having guests that you did not approve upfront is problematic for so many reasons. If I were you and I was 100% sure about the unapproved guests, I would write the 3 star review in a factual manner without discussing with the sitter. Write what they did well with the sit too. The bowl is a mystery so maybe leave that out.


@ChicagoGracie Most homeowners would be horrified at this kind of disrespectful behaviour from a sitter .Having guests in your home when you had explicitly stated that was not permitted on at least four occasions - these guests being strangers to the sitter . From your description this sounds like a sitter with total disregard for a homeowners wishes. A sitter should be there to provide security and peace of mind not inviting strangers into your home .
If you knew the sitter had done this on previous sits would you have invited them to sit for you ?

THS don’t routinely read reviews . If you want THS to be aware of this sitter’s behaviour which breaks the T&Cs on many levels you can raise a complaint TrustedHousesitters' Member Disputes Process |


Thanks so much everyone for your feedback. It was helpful as I draft this review.


I personally would not send a draft of the review but I would call out the issues to the sitter and would have done so once you noticed them.


I agree that the broken dish is minor but it’s irksome that they didn’t mention it.

The weight gain is very frustrating, especially if you left clear guidance.

Having guests over is a violation of T&Cs and I would report them for that. Only caveat is it would be very awkward if you didn’t disclose ahead of time that you had cameras. If they knew the cameras were there and they did it anyway, that’s pretty obtuse of the HS.

I would, however, send a message tho and just give them a chance to respond but I’m a very direct person…


”hi x, upon arriving back, we’ve noticed that our dog has gained weight and a piece is missing. Just wondering where it went and if there was anything unclear on our documentation regarding our dog’s care that may be worth clarifying? Additionally, we observed that you had multiple guests over during the sit. As you’re aware, we have a ring camera and in glancing at our app, saw someone who wasn’t you at the house. Upon closer inspection, we then realised blah blah blah. As you can imagine, this is a bit upsetting as we called out explicitly that no one other than you should have access to our home…if you could provide further insights or context into what happened re:the above, we’d appreciate it.”

After that, absolutely i would call out all
My concerns explicitly in the review, sticking to the facts and also being very intelligent about how you were able to observe that the HS had guests, as no sitter is going to want to feel like they are being spied on.

I would actually give an overall 2 star, if that, for that especially given they had so many randos in your home, and then just call out that while your pet was happy and house was overall ok, this was a pretty massive breach of trust for you or something along those lines. I’d also call out and dock for the pet care and would just mention the missing item.

So sorry you had that experience. X


3 star is kind under the circumstances.


The dog gaining weight could have been the unwanted and uninformed houseguest the sitter brought in maybe feeding the dog too and not knowing the routine. I would not give her the grace of explaining herself…the fact is, she went against TH rules and had NO regard for you, your home or your pet. Anyone that has a houseguest at your home without getting OK’d by you, has no respect for anything to do with being a trusted pet sitter and will most likey just make excuses for it . Sorry, I’m a tough cookie!! The previous 5 star reviews could be from before the new rating system and folks who did not have a ring, etc. If I was a homeowner, I certainly wouldnt want her pet sitting for me, be honest and tactful on your review.


Agree 100% with @SoloGal. Review it as it is, no need to sidestep around the facts. Reviews HAVE to be honest.


Holy cow, I’d give someone ONE star if I said no guests and found out they were ‘hooking up’ with randoms in my house!! Who knows who they might be – casing the place for future break-ins?! This person shouldn’t even be on TH. TH homes are not roomsbythehour motels. I’m not sure I’d communicate and ask them to explain themselves, if you gave clear instructions beforehand. A very terse review stating facts – what was done well and what wasn’t – and report them to TH for violating the housesitters’ terms.
Sorry that happened to you; hope you can have another much better sitter that will renew your faith in the service.






You’re kind to give three stars. I can’t imagine giving anyone more than one star for randomly bringing people to my home. And I say that as a sitter.


I wonder if those previous 5-star reviews may have been posted prior to THS changing the review process to blind both reviews until sitter and homeowner have both posted. IOW the previous pet owners may have been a bit too generous out of concern about getting a retaliatory review from this sitter. There are so many excellent and completely trustworthy sitters on this site. You should absolutely document the problems you had with the sitter in your review, in order to warn other homeowners of their untrustworthiness. That is the whole point of the review process.


Sounds like you didn’t have a no guest rule but something more ambiguous. I wonder how exactly you phrased that with the sitter (hope it wasn’t “no swipe right guests please”)