Nightmare house sitters, any advice?

It looks like you missed many points in the post : HO WAS persistent. HO did describe bedroom as small…and there is absolutely no excuse for moving furniture and not moving it back prior to leaving. Sorry but your blaming the HO here is very poorly placed as the number of infractions by the sitters is stupendous and unacceptable.


Here is the important thing: Your dog is okay. Difficult as your dog is, they managed to take care of her. The stuff they used is just stuff. I don’t know how expensive your products are, but stuff like sunscreen and other toiletries still costs a lot less than boarding your dogs at a kennel. I know the feeling of boundaries being crossed and “Who’s been sleeping on my bed?” But I’ll tell you something: I sit and am also a petparent. No choice in my one bedroom apartment, sitters are going to sleep on my bed. Nobody staying without pay is going to want to sleep on the futon in the livingroom. We accept that sitters will sleep on our bed. Nobody as far as I can tell has ever gone into my drawers or even my closets. I have closet space sitters can use in a hall closet. It works.

As a sitter, I’ve stayed in the primary bedroom sometimes even when other rooms were available because maybe those rooms were the kids’ room, or the designated guest room had a pullout and no room to walk. This was hosts being generous and thinking of my comfort. I guess if someone sleeping on your bed really wigs you out you could invest in a “guest” mattress cover or topper?

This sounds like an unpleasant experience. IMO a true “nightmare sit” is the one where you come home to a neglected pet, or expensive home damage. But I also think your experience could be easily avoided. Here’s how:
–Base your sitter choice at least in part on who is easier to communicate with. They should have let you know what was happening instead of explaining later.
– If your dog is likely to chew sitter’s stuff, make sure there is drawer space or closet space where sitters can leave stuff and dog won’t have access.
–Look in reviews for mention of communication and updates.
–Check over your listing and amenities you can offer. Offer some.
–If you don’t want the sitters touching certain items, put them away and leave out a toiletry gift basket like you’d find at an airbnb.

Treat them like guests, and they are more likely to be good ones.

If they trashed you in a review, don’t trash them back in a response. Respond objectively and own the part that was your responsibility and let future sitters know that you’ll do better next time.


I think that @notgenz is being given rather a hard time here. It sounds as though the limitations of the sit were clear - small room, difficult dog - which the sitters accepted.

However unhappy the sitters may have been subsequently the onus is on them to communicate their concerns - there’s a camera, how do we turn it off; we are finding the bedroom too small, could we use the other one; should we do xyz differently with your dog. It’s not rocket science.


Look I get it, we made a mistake having them over for sure and I’m happy to own that. However, I take issue with you saying that we “knowingly out them in a bad position.” We did not, we had a candid conversation with them about the room and our dog, an unedited picture of the room for them to look at, and we were even staying with them for a couple days before we left on our trip.
We were asking them constantly during that time if they were okay, if they had any questions, but they just smiled and said nothing. In my mind, they had multiple opportunities to say something and they didn’t, that’s what’s frustrating to us.

Could we have said more about those things? Absolutely. It was our mistake not doing that. But that’s what it was: a mistake. We were not malicious in any way, but they chose to be malicious to us in return.


I’m sorry you had a bad experience. It does sound like these were very poor housesitters but, in the kindest possible way, I think you’re taking things too personally. I totally understand that this is your home and all the feelings that go with that. But lots of people let sitters use their toiletries and leave their sitters a bottle of wine or two. Did your sitters go too far and take advantage? Absolutely, it sounds like they did. Did they rush off and leave the house in a mess that you had to sort out? Again, yes. But was this some sort deliberate revenge and violence against you? Probably not. They’re just crappy housesitters. @Marion gives excellent advice on how to attract better sitters next time.


I don’t know how you phrased stuff in your review, but I think reading into other’s behavior “passive agressiveness” always makes the accusser sound less credible – even if the assessment is correct. It’s better “Toilet wasn’t flushed.” as opposed to “Toilet wasn’t flushed for revenge.”

I understand the camera thing was an accident. I once stayed at a sit where a pet cam was accidently left on and I know it was an accident and I did not suspect other cameras in the house, but it freaked me out nevertheless. The homeowner was mortified when I told her, and everything worked out, but that’s because I communicated and she communicated.

This is a learning experience. It feels that there is more than one takeaway for you. One is certainly – get sitters who are better at direct communication. The second might be think more about what you can do to make your sitter’s stay as comfortable as possible.

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Absolutely, lots of learnings for us. Thanks everyone again for the discussion, truly appreciate the sitter perspective from a lot of you.


Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread. The OP has received the help and advice they need. The post has run its course so we will close the topic with thanks!