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WWYD - worst house-sitter ever


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#1 Anemonefish

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:50 PM

My family & I have just come home after being overseas for 3 months. We had a house-sitter looking after our house, garden & pets. We didn't know her prior to this, we got her through an email I sent around at work about needing a house-sitter, and she came over and we ran through all the things she needed to do before we left.

It was really depressing coming home to discover:
- she hasn't been paying for our cleaner to come and clean fortnightly, which is something she had agreed to do. The house was filthy when we got home and when I called our cleaner, she told me she had come to clean windows for us last week (the only time she came and no doubt the house-sitter didn't pay her) and the house was so dirty & messy, she took photos to show me.

- the few pots of herbs, our 2 Christmas trees (live ones in pots that we bring inside and decorate each year), and the lawn she was supposed to water were all dead.

- she left us a note with a list of 'casualties', including, "Your office chair broke but I fixed it with duct tape and it works okay" (no it doesn't), "The gas ran out and I didn't get a chance to swap the bottle over" (this takes 5 mins to do at the petrol station nearby), "The light on your bedroom fan fell off in my first week" (um, ok, DH had recently changed the bulb and possibly didn't put the cover back on properly but it would have fallen onto the bed so I don't know how it could have broken)

- there was a rat problem while we were away. She had told me about this via email. We have had mice problems before, so I'm not blaming her for that. But our TV room rug got chewed on by a rat and she just left it there, with bits of rug underneath and rat poo on it. I also discovered a pile of rat poo and 2 empty packets of rat poison under an armchair in another room, where my DS had been playing.

- lots and lots of little things...e.g. the tablecloth on the dining table was the same one I had put on there when we left and there was gecko poo all over it; she left 2 days before we got back and left dirty dishes in the dishwasher but didn't run it; there was a stack of laundry piled onto the top of the washing machine (obviously all the sheets, towels, teatowels she had used and she hadn't bothered to fold & put them away)

- I found 2 pairs of scrunched up panties in the garden - WTF??

- She looked after our dog and 2 guinea pigs, and at least they are still alive, though our dog is filthy and infested with fleas (even though I had left a full packet of Frontline and instructions to check the dog for fleas/ticks).

This girl stayed at our place rent-free for 3 months. She was supposed to pay $70 per fortnight for our cleaner, she didn't. I'm so annoyed, I feel like writing her an email expressing my disappointment, with a list similar to the one above. I don't expect her to do anything about it, I just want her to be aware that I am not happy, that what she has done is unacceptable, in cases she ever house-sits for someone else (definitely not me or any of my friends - she's on our blacklist now!). DH thinks it would be pointless, a waste of time. What would you do? Would you be upset about all of the above too? Would you call/email her?

Edited by Anemonefish, 08 November 2012 - 01:55 PM.


#2 galba

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:55 PM


I pay my housesitters a small weekly allowance and have never had any problems like this - that may be the difference.





#3 Liv_FERAL_sh

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:57 PM

Oh my god! Was it my sister??

I wouldn't be able to resist sending her an email with all those details on it... and copy in the person you got the recommendation from!



#4 Stellajoy

Posted 08 November 2012 - 01:58 PM

Meh, your pets are alive and house still standing, the rest can be fixed easy. It was free house sitting, I would let it go.

#5 Soontobegran

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:02 PM

Does she have a web site/ FB site advertising her housesitting?
I'd probably leave her some bad feedback so nobody else gets taken in. What a nightmare sad.gif

#6 Sancti-mummy

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:03 PM

Oh my goodness - you aren't in Canberra are you?  A girlfriend had a housesitter (workmate's daughter) and came home to a disaster a few months ago.

How awful for you.

#7 emlis22

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:04 PM

Annoying? Absolutely. But really, if it was un-paid, she was doing you a favour, so she probably didn't see those tasks as worth her while if she wasn't getting paid.

ETA: I will admit there is nothing more annoying than coming home from a holiday to an unclean house.

Edited by emlis22, 08 November 2012 - 02:05 PM.


#8 beaglebaby

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:04 PM

I'd offer her that she can give out your phone number as a reference if she is ever asked to house sit for anyone else wink.gif

#9 MrsLexiK

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:04 PM

QUOTE (Livsh @ 08/11/2012, 02:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh my god! Was it my sister??

I wouldn't be able to resist sending her an email with all those details on it... and copy in the person you got the recommendation from!


This would probably be what I would like to do.  Woud I do it I am not sure, but if I was someone who was recommending a service and the person actually lived like a pig (well not a pig literally as they are tidy but you know what I mean) I would want to know.  How the hell can you live with rat poo in the house

#10 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:05 PM

That is awful OP.

As it was an informal arrangement there will be little you can do to get satisfaction though. I don't think there is a housesitter blacklist.

I would let your nearest and dearest know to avoid her, plus let her know not to expect references from you. Then I would just move on and  let it go.

#11 Soontobegran

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:08 PM

QUOTE (Stellajoy @ 08/11/2012, 02:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Meh, your pets are alive and house still standing, the rest can be fixed easy. It was free house sitting, I would let it go.


The sitter gets free accommodation and utiltities so effectively that is their payment.
We have a friend who came away from a divorce homeless and he has been house sitting for 7 years. He is so very grateful for the fact that these people trust him to care for their home that he treats them all as his own doing the gardening and even some odd jobs around the place if the owners want him to, he expects no payment as he is saved from at least $500 living expenses. Win/win. original.gif

#12 Stellajoy

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:09 PM

for what it's worth the last free housesitters i got decided to leave a day and a half before we got home. In their wisdom they decided the best thing to do was to leave our dog and cat locked inside...

I came home to p*ss and labrador poop everywhere (luckily no cat poo..the dog would have eaten that) and cushions ripped up so that the white stuffing covered the entire house like snow.

#13 mitty82

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:11 PM

I would offer really really nicely to be a referee for her either it be jobs applications or another house sitting job.....obviously phone only ones. Than when you are called....tell them exactly how she did. Im not sure what else you can do really. Was there a contract or anything that she signed?

#14 Stellajoy

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:14 PM

QUOTE
The sitter gets free accommodation and utiltities so effectively that is their payment.
We have a friend who came away from a divorce homeless and he has been house sitting for 7 years. He is so very grateful for the fact that these people trust him to care for their home that he treats them all as his own doing the gardening and even some odd jobs around the place if the owners want him to, he expects no payment as he is saved from at least $500 living expenses. Win/win.


I just see it a bit differently (now). If i need someone to look after my house, feed, water, walk, and treat my pets, do my gardening, and makesure everything is spotless on my return. Then i will pay someone.

#15 Lilymoon

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:15 PM

Oh my I am using a house sitter at the moment! I hope I don't come home to this too.

I don't believe that if it is a long standing gig (1 month or more) you need to pay the

house sitter.

They get a pretty good deal out of it where else can you live for free for 3 months?

I think how she behaved was downright rude.

I would tell her how unhappy you are particularly how she cared for your pets.

I think I would just let the breakages go and the rat problem etc as that could have happened to anyone.

#16 Guest_Maybelle_*

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:17 PM

How horrible  sad.gif As PPs have said, if there is a way to leave her negative feedback so others aren't taken in, do so, but otherwise it seems to be a case of "you get what you pay for".  Having said that, I have done free house-sitting and know people who do it regularly and they would never behave like this.

I guess is is a really crappy lesson to go through an agency and pay next time.

#17 nom de plume

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:19 PM

I'd definitely tell her how angry and disappointed I was and then put it down to a harsh lesson learned.

#18 Anemonefish

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:22 PM

QUOTE (soontobegran @ 08/11/2012, 02:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The sitter gets free accommodation and utiltities so effectively that is their payment.

Exactly! It's a mutually beneficial arrangement, right? This girl lives in another town, and had to come to my town for 3 months as part of her studies. House-sitting for us saved her having to fork out for a short-term, fully-furnished rental. We covered all utilities and I left some cash for buying pet food, etc.

#19 SeaPrincess

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:23 PM

QUOTE (Anemonefish @ 08/11/2012, 11:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I feel like writing her an email expressing my disappointment, with a list similar to the one above. I don't expect her to do anything about it, I just want her to be aware that I am not happy, that what she has done is unacceptable.

It might make you feel better. Did she reply directly to your email or was she recommended by someone?  But, as a pp has already said, good house sitters can get paid, and even get paid extra for feeding animals on top of just living there.

We've had house sitters twice. The first time was for our honeymoon.  A colleague's teenage uni-student daughter stayed at our house and we came home to clean house, freshly made bed, clean towels and fresh bread and milk.  She was awesome.  The second time, we asked a colleague of DH's and his wife if they would like to stay at our house because they were staying in single quarters, so we were, in fact, doing them a huge favour.  I'm pretty sure they didn't change the sheets at all, there was cutlery and tupperware missing (packed lunches not brought home?) and the house wasn't as clean as when we left.  Chalk up to experience.

R

#20 Froger

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:24 PM

Undies in garden could be because she didn't use pegs to hang out her washing, and being little and light weight they blew off in the wind.

#21 JustBeige

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:26 PM

Wow, that sounds really filthy OP.

Did you just have a verbal "please do this?" etc or did you have it all written out for her?  Just wondering if she forgot some of the stated chores. (not cleaning obviously)

I dont think I would bother to send her feedback, but I would actually tell the person who recommended her to not do that any more.

Edited by JustBeige, 08 November 2012 - 02:35 PM.


#22 Soontobegran

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:29 PM

QUOTE (Stellajoy @ 08/11/2012, 03:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just see it a bit differently (now). If i need someone to look after my house, feed, water, walk, and treat my pets, do my gardening, and makesure everything is spotless on my return. Then i will pay someone.


I've never used one and can only speak on behalf of our house sitting friend and his opinion is that he IS being paid by being able to use the house, it's utilities, it's furniture and often it's car which means he does not have to pay for these for the time he is sitting. One house he sits every year for the winter he even pays all their bills for them via an internet banking account they set up for his use.
A 3 month house sitting for him would be saving him $6K in living expenses..........that is his pay. He lives on his sickness benefits quite comfortably as he has not had to pay rent, electricity, gas, water, rates etc for 7 years now. He is definitely winning with this arrangement.
The trick is to find someone like him rather than some disrespectful feral. original.gif

#23 Anemonefish

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:30 PM

Unfortunately, it was an informal arrangement, so there isn't anything I can do other than warn everyone I know. She isn't a regular housesitter, isn't from an online house-sitting organisation or agency. In the past, we have managed to get people we know (or friends of friends) to house-sit.

This time, I had tried to rent out our house through a sabbatical rental website, and I got someone but he pulled out, and then I couldn't find anyone among people we know who could do it for the whole 3 months. When our trip was a month away and I still didn't have anyone, I got a bit desperate. I was nervous that the person who recommended her wasn't someone I know, and that she was so young... I should have trusted my gut feeling!

In retrospect, it would have been better to have left the house empty and send the pets off to live with friends. Next time, I will definitely go through one of the house-sitting websites.

#24 BetteBoop

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:31 PM

I had a housesitter when DH and I went overseas for 2 months. She wasn't paid and she left the house in great condition.

Living in my house saved her about $400 pw based on her rent and transport costs alone, without even considering utiities. I also let her ride my moped so there was entertainment provided  wink.gif

I've never heard of anyone paying a housesitter. They do well out of living somewhere for free.

QUOTE (Stellajoy @ 08/11/2012, 02:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just see it a bit differently (now). If i need someone to look after my house, feed, water, walk, and treat my pets, do my gardening, and makesure everything is spotless on my return. Then i will pay someone.


By the sounds of it, OP's housesitter didn't do any of those things so her pay would be very reasonable. In fact, she probably owes OP a few bucks.

#25 Anemonefish

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:34 PM

QUOTE (Hattie @ 08/11/2012, 02:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My 20 year old niece and her boyfriend housesat for us one Christmas. Never again. She dyed her hair black in the main bathroom (all white benchtops snd towels) which left the countertop permanently stained and two towels completely ruined. She decided our dog needed a bath so did it in our ensuite which was covered in brown splatters (including the ceiling) where he shook himself dry. The house had not been cleaned in any way in the 4 weeks we were gone.

Ohhh, that's terrible, makes me feel like we got off fairly lightly!




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