Be Honest When Reviewing Home Owners

I’m a new Housesitter who has had two amazing experiences this month. I recently had my third house/pet-sitting experience that did not meet my expectations, at all. Despite agreeing to arrive at a certain time and date, I was asked to arrive the night prior due to a scheduling error on her part, putting a strain on my own schedule and travel plan. Upon arrival, I encountered serious cleanliness issues, including dirty sheets, a pillow case with blood on it, dirty bathrooms, thick dust everywhere, and an overall lack of tidiness. Despite my initial hopes, the condition of the home was not conducive to a comfortable stay. In addition, the owner mentioned that the driveway would be unusable if the temperature rose above freezing. The home was extremely remote, which I understood going in, and did have 4WD. After consulting Trusted House Sitters’ guidelines and considering my well-being, I made the difficult decision to leave the property and cancel the sit. While I had hoped for a positive experience, the lack of consideration for a sitter’s safety, comfort, and cleanliness issues made it untenable. The owner did not abide by the Trustedhousesitters guidelines: All pet owners are expected — and regularly reminded — to provide a clean and tidy home for their sitters. I feel it is important to provide an honest review to inform others considering a sit without fear of retaliation.

I don’t understand how so many people in the forum are saying to expect a dirty home and that you should always bring your own cleaning supplies, clean linens, etc.

Lesson learned for me. Being new, I suggested a video call so the owner could meet me virtually and see who they were entrusted their pets and home to. I was told it was unnecessary and let it go. From now on, I will only sit with someone who will provide a video visit and references that I am able to contact.

This site is a fantastic idea and I want to give others the incentive to write honest reviews. I could have gone into much more detail about this last sit, but just gave the facts to keep it short and uncomplicated.

Just be honest with your reviews. Please save others from dangerous and uncomfortable situations.

Edited to meet posting guidelines.


Nothing wrong with asking for a tour on a video chat. However, I’m a homeowner with a listing in a competitve area. If a potential sitter asked for a tour during a scheduled video chat without giving me advanced notice of the request, I would probably just move on. Both my spouse and myself work from home. We’ve got three cats. Sometimes things are messy. The apartment is always clean when handed over to sitters. Showing the apartment without preparation would make me nervous and make me feel – even if it was clean – that I was put on the spot.

I think video chats are a must, but if you are going to want to see more of the house, let the owner know this well in advance. In my case, if asked, I’d probably just send you my video house tour and keep the live chat down to a face to face between us.

I agree that housesitters in their reviews should be honest about the conditions of the home. (I also sit.) The ability to rate cleanliness in the review is new. The review culture here on both ends is that 5 is kind of the baseline with people going lower only if something is definitely outside of the norm. On both ends, people try to avoid mentioning stuff that is minor and different people will have different ideas about what is acceptable.


I have also seen that some sitters do that.

The reason for that seems often an exaggerated anxiety about causing damage to the HO’s bedding, to consume the HO’s supplies, and in general to leave any traces of the sitter having lived there.

Welcome @HCC2929! Good on you for having the courage to end the sit early. It could not have been an easy decision.


Just noticed this part of your opening post. I would never ask a sitter for an outside reference. I would rely on the reviews and references. Same goes for hosts. If someone asked me for an outside reference for my home, the only reference would be a sitter who’d reviewed my home, and I would not be comfortable giving you their number. I agree 100% that people need to be honest in their reviews, but I can’t see going outside of them. Maybe THS needs to ask new Homeowners to supply references in the same way they suggest new sitters have references.

1 Like

Hello @HCC2929 and welcome. For only a third sit you handled the situation well and took responsibility for the review.

I just want to underscore that I agree with @Marion a reference beyond the reviews may turn some off…it would me as a combined member.

Most of us say that thsitters and hosts should do what they feel is good and correct for themselves and compatible people will find each other.

I love this. I just left a nightmare sit early with an unrealistic owner and a house of horrors. I am new to is d this was my second sit. I now see that she never gave reviews or the members were now flood the site. The sitters did not review her except for one who is no longer on site. I think people fear giving a negative review because the other side may retaliate and do the same. Our reviews are important but after this sit I’ve decided my sanity is most important. Good for you for leaving. I too think it’s ridiculous to bring a car full of items to a sit like you’re camping and be expected to supply eaverythibg yourself. We are volunteers and when an owner doesn’t do anything to make a sitter feel welcome, appreciated, comfortable, and informed, it’s a no win situation. I made the decision to leave early knowing that this owner would probably give me a negative review but it was an awful experience and I haven’t slept well or eaten for days trying to end it with her trying to keep me. I felt trapped, powerless, and forced to do more work to document the issues and then help find and connect with someone to take over. It would be nice if TH would be more proactive when sitters make the decision to end a sit early. There would be no other reason but that it is absolutely necessary and the sooner the better. I arrived Weds and by the next day was doing everything I could to get out of there. It was very time consuming and even trying to find a real number for TH was taxing course the animals were lovely but what a relief it’s over now.


That just seems silly. It really shouldn’t be a problem if the sitter isn’t abusing the privilege and over consuming. I just left a sit that thank God I brought my own toilet paper because I would have had a huge problem otherwise. We are not employees, we are guests and as a former Airbnb host, I did my utmost to welcome the people that came to my home and make it as comfortable and convenient as possible. I can’t imagine someone being so stingy that a sitter could not have anccess to any necessary supplies so they to live in the home as normal as they do in their own home. Coffee, working showers, working toilets, etc. it actually is a big deal for us to move our life and world to a new place and try to settle in when there is no effort by the owner to assist them in being comfortable. It sets the tone for the entire experience and in my opinion is the right thing to do.

And make sure everything in the home is working properly. Also if you have cameras all over the exterior of the home please discuss it with the sitter so they are not surprised by an owner monitoring them without their knowledge. I know it may say something in their profile but everyone is different. I just left a sit where the owner was heavily monitoring my presence and actions without my knowledge it and it was upsetting that they didn’t have the courtesy to mention it in advance. If they are so untrusting they should pay a professional or only use a trusted friend. After that and the owner’s dishonesty saying only one of the 6 cameras on the property was enabled which I knew to be untrue by seeing the lights blinking, it was only after I spoke to TH that they turned everything off on one side of the house even the motion detectors that turn on lights outside. and a host of many home problems. It also made me extremely uncomfortable and for the first time I was concerned that I was being monitored inside the home as well. You can see my Nightmare Sit post for more info. Bottom line these people are users and abuse the platform churning through sitters and will continue to do so unless they are given an honest review. I am new to this so I did not realize before hand what to look for in prior reviews and now it all makes sense.

  1. Always make a video call, that’s really common and also makes sense.

  2. Never leave a sit, never, unless it is really an emergency. If you leave a sit because of cleanliness, then I think you are not in the right place here. By entering into a contract by THS you assume responsibility for animals. In my opinion, your behavior goes against the THS guidelines.

Are you a lawyer?

This would depend on jurisdiction, of course, but I doubt that you could mention any country where a sitter could be held liable for the HO’s return tickets.

So unless you can give a legal case to support your assertion I say: empty threats!


@Coclico this is just ridiculous. You cannot force people to do anything against their will for any reason. This is a voluntary arrangement between two strangers. Please maintain some degree of perspective, there’s no need for such aggression.


It’s also not right to downplay this as just a cleanliness problem. Like mold is a health issue, especially in young children (reference to another thread, where this host also downplayed).

To me, if a host can’t distinguish the difference, it’s because their bias to “be serviced” overrides the basic premise of what’s a reasonable exchange on THS. And even many businesses wouldn’t force employees into health risks, because it’s a fact that they can be sued for such in many countries.


I’m confused by your reply to my suggestion that asking for an “outside reference” for the homeowner would be extremely unusual. As a homeowner I have several reviews from housesitters not mentioning any of the problems you’ve encountered. I agree with you that housesitters should be honest. I think all of mine were. But if a sitter asked me for an “outside” reference, I’d be at a loss. I would decline without giving it a second thought. As a sitter, if a homeowner asked me for an outside reference, I’d have the same reaction. My point was that if your requirement going forward would be an outside reference you could contact about a homeowner, you will have a lot of trouble finding future sits on this site.

1 Like

I was surprised to see in a HO description that they would require a Police Check…. this was an Australian HO. I wouldn’t have a problem with that as I have an ONLINE enhanced DBS checking service so would simply need to send the link to it.

1 Like

I had one at one time, submitted it to THS and it’s listed on my profile, but honestly I’m not sure I could find it in my files again. If someone asked me for it, it might feel like a lot of work unless it was the one last thing they needed to confirm the sit.

Honest reviews are the only way to keep both Home Owners and House Sitters safe. I did take photos, which I submitted to Trusted Housesitters, along with additional details. They are investigating the issues of safety and code of conduct breaches.
Upon arrival, I observed several cleanliness issues, but with the 3 1/2 hour distance I traveled and the late hour, I put those issues aside knowing that I would have to spend considerable time cleaning. I expected the living area to be untidy with 4 loveable dogs who enjoyed being on the furniture. I also expected dirt and plenty of dog hair with 4 labs. However, I did not expect the guest bathroom that I used upon arrival, and the kitchen, to be so dirty. I was given a quick tour of the house, and given the rundown of the dog’s needs, and headed to the Master Bedroom, where I would be staying. I changed quickly and got into bed.
I woke up around midnight with itchy eyes and a scratchy throat. I walked into the master bath to splash my face with water. I then went to use the toilet and was horrified that it had not been cleaned, nor had the trash bin even been emptied. I then pulled back the shower curtain and the jacuzzi tub was filthy. I went back into the bedroom and turned on the lights to find that the pillows were stained, one with blood, and the sheets were dirty and appeared to have been slept in for some time. Looking around the room, the thick layer of dust was everywhere. The room had not even been dusted or vacuumed for an extended period. No wonder I was experiencing physical difficulty.
My visit was planned several weeks prior, and the owner did not even attempt to clean or prepare for my arrival.

Edited to comply with forum guidelines


I don’t bring my own linens, but if we are driving to a Sit, I always bring my own cleaning supplies and use them unless an Owner insists that I use only their products. The products that I use work well, and I bring my own rubber gloves, sponges, and various microfiber cloths for dusting, cleaning hard surfaces, and cleaning glass.

Some Owners have good cleaning supplies all in one place, but so many of them have scattered supplies and no rubber gloves. It is simply much easier for me to get the job done if I bring my own supplies.

1 Like