Is this acceptable?

Welcome @Becca3 to the forum. You will hear from Home Owners and sitter’s perspective too, I am happy to note that your pets were well cared for even thought the sitters had to take them to the vets during their stay.

I can see that there are at lot of things that have caused you upset about your first experience of having a sitter. For me the primary concern would be the security of your home , that it was left unlocked on frequent occasions without your knowledge and that a key has been lost and is still unaccounted for . How did this come to your attention ? Has the sitter stated this in writing to you ?

Now the issue of asking for bus fare at the end of the sit , it doesn’t sound right / usual on the face of it - but now you have explained that the sitter has to pay out vet fees upfront on your behalf, which you have not been able to reimburse them for yet. Have you considered that as a result, they may not have had the funds remaining to pay for their bus fare ?

At what point in time, did you discuss the arrangements for paying the vet ? Was this before the sit was agreed , or only after the pet became sick ? Also, reading between the lines, it seems that you did not leave sufficient food for your pets for a 1 month stay so your sitter again had to pay upfront for these .

Also the bedding not washed and lawn clippings etc … this is something that many sitters would do if it’s explicitly stated in your listing/welcome guide

We don’t know all the facts ; however you said that your sitters had to take your dog to the vet and pay upfront , if they took good care of a sick pet maybe their time was spent prioritising this …and they expected your appreciation and understanding on some of the less important things that didn’t get done .

Sadly it sounds like communication broke down during the sit, not just at the end , which is very unfortunate and sounds like a bad experience for both you and the sitters . Although you have said that

Going forward I suggest that the following may help towards a better experience.

•you leave sufficient pet food (or cash to buy it )for the entire stay .
•You set up an account with your vet , so that the sitter will not have to pay vet fees upfront.
•Arrival and departure times are discussed at the time that you confirm the sit.
•You include the garden responsibilities in your listing ( you may already have this covered ) so that sitters are fully aware of your expectations.

With these in place, I am sure that you can find great sitters in future.

Hi thanks for your input and perspective on the issue. As stated we wrote down instructions and tasks, stated them in a video interview, also clarified and repeated any necessary instructions through messages while away, replying as quickly as possible to any questions. I will definitely discuss cleaning and house expectations clearly before any future sits. However I want to clarify, we are not asking for a professional cleaning or gardening service or for the house to be immaculate. Upstairs was not cleaned as thoroughly as I usually do but you could see an effort was made and I was more than happy with that. We are requesting to leave the house in a similar state that it was found in and to fulfill basic maintenance tasks clearly stated in written instructions, a phone interview and then again in person. A good HO should also put in an effort to clean their house and adequately prepare space for their sitters. I really can’t understand how this expectation is seen as a specific or unusual need.

As for the lock I do empathise as I have been in similar situations, but if a lock is tricky I try to learn how to use it or communicate to the owner that I can’t close it so they can provide solutions. Just as you state HOs must clearly state their needs, but so must POs. How can I know there is an issue if it’s not communicated to me? Forgetting to lock the front door is one thing but knowingly leaving it open as well as a very large downstairs window (that opens to the street not our garden) for hours when you aren’t home is really a violation of trust in my opinion.


Thanks a lot for your feedback Maggie. Completely agree that you shouldn’t have to do any tasks you don’t want to or don’t feel correspond to you as a pet sitter as long as that’s all communicated prior to sit.

I agree there is nothing exceptional about what we did before, probably wasn’t needed but for context our PO went between claiming there was no issue with how the house was left while also stating multiple reasons for why she was too busy or unable to leave it in good condition and complaining that she had had to wake up at 7 in the morning (she left in the afternoon). So I added what I guess was an unnecessary detail in frustration. We are all busy but if you commit to hosting or sitting you find time to respect that commitment.

Hey ! I wrote a long reply but it’s been flagged as it’s too easy for the Sitter to identify themselves. So I’m sorry it’s hard to elaborate and I’m going to amend the original post to take out some info. so unfortunately some of these replies won’t make sense as they refer to now missing details.

As for the laundry there were other items from the house in there.
There were buses leaving the town throughout the day.

Thanks anyway for your comment!

Yes we agreed payment arrangements prior to sit and I.sent a few messages while away to check whether the sitter wanted us to transfer the money immediately. She preferred at the end of the sit.

During the handover the sitter stated she left the door unlocked to my mother in law. My mother in law found the door and window open and the sitter confirmed in a message that it was true but didn’t believe it to be an issue as she hadn’t left the house much during those last few days.

As for the bus fare I really wouldn’t mind about something like this but it’s all of these things together that made me feel like everything was very disorganized. As others stated we weren’t a good fit.

As for the dog being sick, it was nothing too serious or prolonged. It could be a factor but the POs had time to often work 8-10 hour days from home, take multiple day trips, receive (approved) guests and another dog, and travel with our dogs for a couple of days. At least they haven’t communicated that being an issue to me.

Yes the communication definitely broke down towards the end.

The state you found your house in was definitely unacceptable. As the sitters had previously had good reviews, it occurred to me that something quite dramatic / bad news had happened just before their departure, especially as they had left personal items. This doesn’t excuse no explanation on their part.


@Becca3 at the end of the day, whatever was clear and agreed to by both parties is what needs to happen. You asked for member opinions so I gave it. @CatsAndDog the OP gave the outline, asked for opinions, so I provided it. It wasn’t meant to state who’s opinion is right or that I’m wrong or your wrong. If you want to provide your own opinions to the OP go for it

I wasn’t commenting to OP, I was commenting on your comment above. The role of the sitter is not an opinion, but a fact, as it is stated in the Code of Conduct :
“I will make every effort to leave the home as I found it and ensure every care is taken with the owner’s pet(s), home and garden.”

How that looks like, varies of course. It doesn’t mean, that every sitter should accept any garden or home maintenance duty they are not happy to do. That is between the HO and the sitter to come into an agreement with the specific responsibilities of each sit before confirming the sit. So I’m sure there are many sits that don’t require any gardening to be done, but it certainly is not wrong or unreasonable from the HO to ask it, as long as it is clearly written in their listing.


Frankly, when an owner complains about furniture having been moved (after a month), I tend to take the rest of the list of complaints with a grain of salt.

For example, I would assume that owners have more than one set of bedclothes. Why is it such a problem to make one’s bed or to move a table to where one wants it?

(And I am one who has left a sausage (unbroken packaging) in the fridge. And on another sit I forgot to pack toiletries and I told the HO they could bin those. And of course I have forgotten a charger, which I said they could keep.)

That’s disgraceful, I’d rate them as 1*, it’s totally appauling and I’m a sitter.

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OMG! That is totally unacceptable - I’d give them a 1 star review & cut & paste what you wrote above as a warning to future sitters. I am so sorry you had such a bad experience. Honestly, I think I would report them to THS as leaving your house unlocked + losing a key is very concerning.


It’s fine to move furniture, but take a picture of how it was & return it to that state when you leave.


Hi Becca, I wonder, as there were 2 people, whether there was a falling out of some sort and the ‘left items’ belonged to the other person? It all seems a bit strange but I’m betting that’s what’s happened. I’d change my locks if I were you, dump the stuff you don’t want and put it down to experience. And wouldn’t give a review.


Just wondering, does it cost you as much money as if you were to hire a professional in home petsitter? If so, why not just do that?
Otherwise, try to keep in mind that the people staying in your home are amateurs, not professionals. They are likely not professionally trained pet sitters or house cleaners.
Good on you for getting a cleaner if you know that petsitters don’t clean up to your standard, I’d wager that it’s still a bargain compared to a live-in professional, a kennel or even daily drop ins.

Sitter here, most of this is unacceptable. There are of course a few things that, if they had been the only inconsistency, wouldn’t be a big deal (such as the glass recycling and the drying dishes). However leaving your home unsecured is a huge violation of safety and trust.
Their stuff being left behind is also really disrespectful. We once had a long sit after which we were leaving the country. We asked the HOs of they or their kids had need for any of our stuff and they told us to leave all of it. Otherwise I take my unwanted stuff to the charity shop or bin it.
You’ve tried to get in touch with them but they haven’t replied. Of these things has been a misunderstanding as some other replies have suggested, I’d imagine they would want the opportunity to explain themselves. But since they’ve gone no contact it seems like they really don’t care.
Sounds like you were taken advantage of. Try to write a fair review noting the highest priority issues (the door being unlocked, window opened and key gone). You can mention that the house wasn’t returned the way you left it for them and your other instructions weren’t followed, but I wouldn’t detail every single thing they did in a review as it may put off some sitters who are afraid of making a mistake if they were to sit for you. Not saying your expectations are unreasonable, just that a long negative review from a HO can be read in a certain way that is off-putting to some.
Keep it short, honest, and without emotion.

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Thank you for clarifying. As you say disorganised and not willing to put any effort into the sit. Us sitters are not all like that. 99% of us go above and beyond.
We should have an emergency squad who take on the next sits for people who have been let down or feel disappointed with their previous sitters. Swoop in and show them what it should be like.
“Five star squad, to the rescue”


That might also explain the missing key and the appearance of chaos at departure. Might even explain the yardwork and tarp if the sitters had divvied up duties upon agreeing to the terms.

It doesn’t matter, though. Just as the HO’s wedding and lack of sleep does not give her a pass on preparing her home for a sitter (as someone mentioned above), whatever may or may not have been going on with the sitter doesn’t mean she gets to just flake on the arrangement she agreed to.

Please do not leave no review! When I read all the things you’ve mentioned, most of the details are less important, but combine to a whole: this sitter was disorganized, not self-reliant, and had poor communication.

Losing the key was not great - but not telling you immediately, and their workaround of leaving the house unlocked (again, without telling you) is far worse. It deserves a specific mention.

So much this!


They may deserve to be dinged in the review but I think trashing them or giving them a 1* review would be unfair as they provided good care for the pets.


A heads up if a HO doesn’t give a review, it will not show up on the sitter review, so please do leave a review so the rest of the HOs can see it.

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Actually the description of the left behind articles doesn’t sound like they forgot them but left them to be thrown away by the owners.
It’s no big deal to forget something but to treat a homeowner as a means to get rid of the sitter’s trash is a no go!

My review for them would have a maximum of 2 stars. Yes, the pets are important but my home is as well.

Everybody knows what’s expected, which is to leave the house as one found it, period. This includes no missing keys, no open windows and no unlocked door. Dirty laundry on the bed is completely unacceptable.