Sitter "drama"

I am both a sitter and a homeowner and have had pretty good experiences on both sides so far. I recently had some sitters stay who were unusual, though, and I’m trying to work through what I could do, if anything, next time, to avoid this. It’s too tiring to go into more details (such as how it was clear they didn’t read the welcome guide), so I’ll focus on one item:

For some context, I had to split the sit into two because the incoming sitter, who had stayed before and was great, could not do the entire sit as I hoped. At the end of the first part of the sit, the unusual folks texted that they’d clean everything before they left. However, when my next sitter arrived the following day, right away, I received photos from her of a dirty, slept-in bed, sink and tub full of hair, and a crumb-covered sofa.

First, why would the first sitters say they were going to clean and then obviously not?

Second, when I texted them to tell them this, they denied it and said the incoming sitter must be making it up or someone else had been in the house! I checked my security footage and there was no one there but them and her. How would someone have the nerve to blame someone else for their mess??

Thinking about their denial, while it’s possible that the second incoming sitter walked in, messed up things and took pictures (why? Just to make the first people look bad?), that does seem a bit psycho and like a real waste of time for a 1) busy person 2) who already has a great reputation plus 3) sat for me before with no issues.

The unusual folks provided no documentation of anything, so in the end, I said it’s sitter #2’s documentation against sitters #1 non-documentation.

Finally, given the context of the other ways in which the first sitters were unusual, I chose to not write them any review and instead tell them how to improve for the future. I have insurance agents in my family, and I own a rental property, so I have seen what can happen without documentation to protect yourself. I document exactly the condition of a place before I leave with a lot of photos and tell the homeowner precisely what I have done and what time I leave. On some occasions, I have even made a short video of my final walk-through for my own use, just in case.

This, they indicated, was over-the-top.

I am done with this nonsense drama and yet I also want to avoid this kind of weird thing in the future. I think it IS over-the-top to expect that a sitter at my place does a video walk-through, etc., and I never would ask for that. However, I believe firmly that a sitter aware of the potential for liability (especially in the good ole US of A), should document their doings clearly to “CYA.”

Can other homeowners/homeowners+sitters relate? Provide constructive advice for the future? Is there a “TOP TIPS FOR SITTERS” posting I can share with future sitters so they’ll understand this kind of thing without me blathering on about it? Thanks.


If I ever had a split sit, I would make sure to document.

  1. I did a split sit and wouldn’t do it again, because it leaves you open to uncertainty about which sitter did what and I don’t want to risk that as a sitter. I didn’t realize that when I was new to sitting.

  2. A sitter could do a video, but even with one, there’s no way to definitively say who did what to a home. It would be the word of X vs. Y. I mention that, because I’m not clear on how that’s supposed to help the HO, even if they had a beef.

  3. The worst that can happen to sitters in various cases is they get booted off THS. But judging from various posts, THS doesn’t seem to do much against even some dicey sitters or HOs.


I think the issue here is that it was a split sit. We have discussed this ad infinitum on the forum and the consensus of opinion is that they’re not to be recommended and you’ve explained the reasons why. I would never take over from or hand over to another sitter.


It is not useful for your current situation, but it might be for the future: I think, if there is no way to avoid a split sit, the best thing you could do to avoid drama is:

  1. Book a cleaner for inbetween the two sits.
  2. Ask a friend or neighbor to do a personal handover of the flat to the new sitters.

Under these conditions, I could also imagine to do a split sit (as a sitter) :blush:


That would definitely help.

What I experienced when I bookended another sitter: When I returned for my second sit, there were debris in water bowls and old kibble in food bowls, with tiny gnats. The dogs were off their feed for several days after, which worried me, especially with senior dogs. They hadn’t been given their usual home-cooked food. I don’t know whether it was cause and effect, of course. But because of such, I wouldn’t do a split sit again under any circumstances.

This house had a weekly cleaner and several guest rooms, so there was no problem with cleaning or the home otherwise. I kept my room and bath even though I was gone for about 10 days.

Hi @cherylfah. Thank you for sharing about this “drama.” Consensus seems that the issue is a split sit. But everyone also says they wouldn’t do a split sit. Maybe we can keep that tool in our toolbox. For example, if you need to arrange a split sit again, before confirming either sitter, make it clear about some added requirements. Like, the first sitter needs to agree to document the condition of the house and pets before they leave. E.g., video walkthrough, video of pets. The sitter doesn’t have to send it to you, but they have to commit to taking it, in case there is a discrepancy later. Similarly, the second sitter needs to agree to do the same when the arrive. If I had to guess, simply knowing that will occur would make both sitters be a little more responsible.

edited below:

By the way, what I’d guess happened is the first sitters talk a good game but don’t do it. Or they honestly meant to clean but procrastinated. The second sitter wouldn’t make things up, not only because of the good reasons you mention, but also because they wouldn’t know whether the first sitter had taken photos of the place before they left. The unusual sitters blamed someone else because they’re afraid of getting in trouble and/or looking bad and/or admitting they messed up (pun!). Could be narcissists.


Thanks. Bottom line is I will not offer a split sit again and/but yes agree on the requirement for documentation in the case of a split sit–which I will not offer.

And to your other comment about narcissism and blame, yes, early on, I did get the feeling the first people were entitled narcissists polite in word only, who felt that I was beneath them. When confronted with the untidy house issue, part of their denial response was that taking care of the home and communicating with me was a burden to them, anyway. But, as there was no tangible “damage” done to my home by their unusually condescending attitude, that wasn’t part of my original issue.

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Seems this is solved, but I just wanted to add that I always* do a video walkthrough when we leave if we aren’t doing an in person handover.

*Sometimes when I’ve skipped it, I’ve ended up needing it. So now I’ve vowed to always do one and as soon as I get the “all good, thanks!” message, I delete the videos. It also helps my anxiety if I don’t hear from them right away and start to think it’s because something was wrong when they got home.

Over-the-top? Maybe. But I never said I wasn’t! :sweat_smile:


I wish you would review them.

FWIW, I was the 2nd sitter in a similar position, although 1. it wasn’t filthy/terrible but she had definitely not cleaned well and did not wash the sheets (despite telling me she had), 2. 1st sitter had sat for them before and they thought she was wonderful, so I held my tongue.

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