House Sitting Horror Stories – How Well Do You Know Your House Sitter?

The availability of people who can house sit or pet sit for you is generally not an issue. As I have discussed throughout my articles, the key is to ensure you are getting the right person to look after your home and pets. Unfortunately, house sitting horror stories are a little more common place than many of us might think.

Before I discuss some of these stories, I want to again accentuate the importance of doing your due diligence on anyone who you are considering to stay in your home. Your major asset/s and your pets deserve nothing less than the best option.

There are opportunists, transients, dishonest people, substandard sitters, and those who are looking to capitalise on securing a home to house sit for all the wrong reasons. All too often these people present and advertise as being good people. Some come recommended, or are considered trusted based on the home owner knowing them from a distance perhaps. Surprisingly, many operate through registered house sitting membership sites. House sitting can be a risky business.

The above is exactly why you need to make sure you are getting the right person for your home – the first time. Lets briefly take a look at some of the unfortunate stories associated with house sitting. Note that I will provide direct links to these stories for your own research.

In Australia there was the case of the cafe owner moving to Canada for six months. The house sitter concerned stole a 50 inch TV, a computer and a sewing machine. Read the article here…

Another case involved a young 17 year old house sitter where an X-Box 360, ten X-Box games, $500 cash and a pair of headphones were stolen. Read the article here…

Then there was the 70 year old Australian grandmother who hired the ‘house sitter from hell’ who locked up her pets, then robbed and vandalised her home. “She came across so nice and she was close to our age so that’s why we trusted her,” she said. “She told us she had been police-cleared. I then asked her to bring her references when she came but she never did, and by that time we were packed up and ready to go.” The house was in an “atrocious” state when she returned from holidays. Read the article here…

And in America, a couple who went away and left a professional house sitter in charge of their San Francisco apartment, were shocked to discover that he had listed their home on Airbnb to rent out to strangers! Read the article here…

In the following article, the home owner has vowed never to have house sitters again. This was based on her experiences with letting them into her private space and how they had taken it upon themselves to move things around. Read the article here…

And then we have the pet sitter who brought her own dog to the house sitting assignment. This frightened and stressed the home owners cats, and disturbed the neighbours with noise and barking. It was also revealed that the sitter did not stay every night at the premises. Read the article here…

Even Hollywood gives house sitting some air time with the 2015 movie release of The House Sitter, a movie that dramatises what can happen when you let the wrong person inside your home…and that looks can be deceiving. You can take a peek at the movie trailer right here….

And from the other side, here is a link to an article that talks of a pet sitters horror stories involving a highly strung dog, a pathetic parrot, a flea ridden cat with diarrhoea, and the sad tale of 4 dead guinea pigs who allegedly died from stress! You can read more about it right here…..

Of course there are many more horrible stories associated with choosing the wrong person to look after your home and your pets. The above cases clearly demonstrate that personal recommendations, familiarity or recognition of a person, enlisting services through house sitting membership sites, and taking people on face value are not guarantees that you will get a good house sitter.

A quick checklist:[green_tick_1_list width=”100%”]

  • Do your due diligence.
  • Request information and references – and ensure you receive them prior to a stay.
  • Look for experience and a proven track record.
  • Does the person provide demonstrated results of previous stays?
  • How serious or committed is this person to house sitting anyway?
  • Do they have an online presence like a website, or to a lesser extent a facebook page?
  • Does that online presence indicate a genuine body of work and interest?
  • What are their values and their beliefs?
  • Do they smoke or drink?
  • What is your feel about this person?
  • Do they ask questions? If they do it demonstrates perhaps a level of interest, accountability and professionalism. If they don’t then it may indicate they are not engaged or listening.
  • What are their interests?
  • Do they love animals?
  • Are they clean?[/green_tick_1_list]

As discussed throughout this website, being able to demonstrate experience and results is just one of the ways I go about my role as a professional house sitter. My working background in compliance in no small way illustrates my focus on the importance of assessing and managing risk (on both sides) of any house sitting or pet sitting stay.

Do you need a house sitter? Perhaps you might know of  a person or family who require someone to house sit or pet sit for them? If so, please take the time to share my website with them – it really helps me get my message out there. If you liked this article, or any of my other articles, podcasts or information on my website, please share and like them on facebook and your other social networks. Thankyou!

*Craig Hedge is a Professional house sitter and pet sitter from Hobart (nipaluna), Tasmania, and is currently available for selected stays throughout coastal Tasmania and Australia.
He is also a Professional Coach and author of the Instinctive Living self help ebook and audiobook series available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes.

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