What does the criminal background check mark entail?

Hi everyone, I’m fairly new to the platform. Recently, I put up my first posting, in Singapore, and have received a lot of applications, with a few of them having a criminal background check marking in their profile. May I know what does this entail?

I know it involves some sort of extra vetting process with THS. How thorough is this vetting process and what kind of background information does the sitter have to provide to pass it? I guess my question is whether a sitter who have the criminal background check necessarily a lot more trustworthy than another who doesn’t have one, even though the latter might have more reviews.

Hi @Xycergy and a very warm welcome to the Community Forum :wave:t2::slightly_smiling_face:

I have included links/blog with regards to criminal background checks

If you’re a US-based sitter member, part of setting up your profile will include completing a free sitter background check. Every member needs to complete an identity check as part of the joining process and to answer your question, no, just because a sitter has a criminal background check it does not mean that they are more trustworthy, it is just an additional requirement for US citizens currently. Another way of ascertaining the trustworthiness of potential sitters is to read through their previous reviews and references if they are completely new to the platform.

Background checks are designed so that you can offer pet parents extra peace of mind when applying to take care of their pets and home. They help build further trust in our community, so members feel safe, secure, and supported when connecting online with one another.

I would also recommend having a video call with potential sitters before confirming a sit. This will hopefully give you more of an idea of who will be sitting for you and it will give both sides the opportunity to answer any questions that you both might have.

I have also attached a couple of previouss threads where this has been discussed

Hopefully this will help but if you do have any further questions with regards to this, please do not hesitate to ask.

Also, for reference, as a member you can also add your TrustedHousesitters profile on to your Forum profile by following the attached link, should you wish. This will then enable others to offer you helpful advice and feedback and will also give your listing extra exposure!

If you are unsure how to do this, or if you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask, we are all more than happy to help.

Also, remember you can use the spyglass symbol at the top of the page next to the TrustedHousesitters logo and search for any questions that you may have as they have most likely already been answered on here and of course if not then please just ask! :blush:


Thank you for your very detailed reply. So just to reiterate, the criminal background check is only available to members from the US?

I guess my follow-up question is then, is it necessarily a matter of concern if a US-based sitter member DOESN’T have a criminal back ground check marking? Is there any reason why a well-experienced sitter from the US would not want, or be able, to have this mark on their profile?

Hi @Xycergy in answer to your question the background check is currently available to sitters from the US.
We reside in the UK and although not necessary, we have a criminal background check included in our profile by choice. It’s called a DBS check here, you may find other sitters may include this in their detailed descriptions in their profiles.

The profiles you mention without the criminal background check marking on the well-experienced sitter’s profile may just be an error of the website itself or may just not have updated on their profile as it is compulsory for all US citizens to have completed a criminal background check in order to maintain their membership. Also, their review history will hopefully give you the confidence to accept them should you deem them suitable. Remember as I mentioned previously, if you can, always try to have a video call before confirming any sitters.

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Not necessarily. The sitter could have had issues that are completely unrelated to house sitting, for example activists. Or they could have no issues at all.

This is what comes upp in the app when one clicks info:

(FCRA is the abbreviation of Fair Credit Reporting Act.)

It is generally these five that are checked. When one of those is missing, one could wonder why.

I once almost had a couchsurfing guest who had issues, I saw a conviction in a Swedish database after I had received erratic texts. This also means that the system is not essential: the behaviour was the red flag.

@Xycergy, Yes, I’ve wondered the same, why a US based sitter wouldn’t have the criminal background check mark. When the background check was first instituted, I thought we were told that a US sitter would not be allowed to continue as a sitter unless they complied with the background check. So, why are there US sitters who still do not have one if it is a THS requirement?

Hi @sledgejoyce @Xycergy any sitters that had not completed the further background checks in the US were required to do so by the deadline for completion which was March 16th 2022. It is compulsory so all US citizens who are members of THS will have completed the additional background checks to remain as members although the verification marking may not have updated on their profile.

@Samox24 So it seems that it is mandatory for US citizens to complete the background check to be able to continue as a sitter on THS. That is good information.

Since you mentioned about the DBS check in the UK, do you mind if I ask you about this as well. Is this something common for most sitters from the UK to obtain? Will it be too rude of me to request a DBS check verification from a sitter from the UK, if they didn’t have that included in their profile description.

Hi @Xycergy yes you are correct.

It is not that common to see DBS checks on sitters profiles, we added ours as additional information and have been asked by a homeowner to show this before a sit which we completed and were more than happy to do so. You are certainly entitled to ask potential sitters for one before confirming a sit and you then will find some members are happy to provide a DBS and some members are not. There is an additional charge for this to members and as the key word of the site is “trusted” you might find some members will simply not want to. It is not a requirement to have a DBS as a UK sitter, purely up to the individual as to whether they choose to add this or not.
As I mentioned previously, hopefully their review history will be enough for you when choosing potential sitters and you will not require the additional information.

Keeping in mind that any check, whether DBS, criminal background, police, financial, driving record, etc. are snapshots of that moment in time. So yes, a US based sitter could have a clear criminal background check on Monday, but that could all change Tuesday.

As a HO I would rely more on previous HO’s Feedback of a Sitter. This doesn’t help if a Sitter is new to THS and further due diligence would be required.

And let’s not wade into the deep end of the pool that similar checks are not required of HOs!


@Xycergy I strongly agree with @PetSitterBug 's comment. I live in Canada and have been a sitter member of TrustedHousesitters for nine years. I complied with the security check in place when I joined, which I don’t think was as extensive as the current US sitter requirements. However, I have a US/Canada Nexus clearance which would be revoked anytime I did not comply with the terms. It required a background check and clearance by both border patrols as well as an intensive interview.

If you were to consider me as a sitter, I would hope you would read my thorough profile as well as the 50+ reviews and references.

All of these reasons may be why a sitter would be reluctant to provide a background or police check.

Isn’t a DBS check just a bit pointless though and you’re appealing to people who don’t really understand it to tick a box in their eyes.

A DBS will only give someone a snapshot of your record up to that very moment after which it is out of date and invalid.

You wouldn’t be able to take a DBS from one job and give it to the next - each new job/role/client would need a new one each time realistically to be of any real value.

@PetSitterBug So you are saying the criminal background check of a sitter is not updated in real time? I always thought that when I request a background check of someone, it is implied that I would be looking for the background check of a person at the time of that request.

Doesn’t this make this feature kinda useless then? Since, theoretically anyone with a criminal history can hide said fact by pulling out a background check done in the past before said crime.

Hi @Ashleynov we were asked to provide a DBS by a homeowner which we were more than happy to provide. Our own personal preference is that we update our DBS every year but that is not mandatory for THS.
You are right, it is a snapshot at that moment but there is no actual expiry date on them that’s why we renew ours each year.

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Why wouldn’t it update on their profile if they (the US based sitter) have completed the background check? Isn’t that a disservice to the sitter for it not to show up on their profile and make the homeowner to whom they may have applied wonder why there is not the verification symbol on their profile? Will that be corrected soon on the profiles that are missing it but should have it? I am a homeowner as well as a sitter and I know that when US sitters apply to me, I want to see the verification of their background check.

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I see that it costs 18 GBP? Per head. Why would you want to spend that on a sit?

(And I would not like that kind of paranoid HO. They might have lots of spying equipment in the home.)

That’s typically the case with background checks — they’re done as a gating mechanism and only if someone pays again will the check be done again.

I’ve worked for companies involved in personal finance where we paid every year to renew the checks. It’s expensive to do for a large number of people. In the case of THS, presumably the costs would be passed on to members.

At other companies I worked for, the checks were done as a condition of hiring. Once done, that was it.

You can’t usually submit an old check — the companies usually do them when you join, like with THS. They’re usually subcontracted out to companies that specialize in doing such checks. THS subcontracts, for instance.


Hi @sledgejoyce I can certainly understand that as a Homeowner you want to see the verification on the sitters background check but the sitter concerned would need to contact Membership Services via email to support@trustedhousesitters.com to sort out and rectify any issues with their profile

Also as I mentioned earlier, any sitters that had not completed the further background checks in the US were required to do so by the deadline for completion which was March 16th 2022. It is compulsory so all US citizens who are members of THS will have completed the additional background checks to remain as members although the verification marking may not have updated on their profile.

Hi @pietkuip it is our personal preference to have a DBS check and we are more than happy to provide them should a homeowner request this from us.

“Trusted” being the keyword to the site doesn’t apply to Americans, and we don’t have the choice not to comply. I know you are aware of that, but it’s really an unacceptable double standard, as is the fact that it only applies to sitters. Makes it feel like some people are implicitly trustworthy, while others need to be thoroughly investigated.