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Beware rogue house-sitters

I was interested in the article (Connexion, September edition) about Nomador, a website that links homeowners and house-sitters.

We’d like to put forward a word of warning. We joined a different house-sitting site in 2016, and for three years welcomed lovely people to house-sit our rural home and cats. This year things have changed.

Our sitters in May looked after the cats – no complaints there – but we found, when they’d left, urine stains on a new mattress and stained linen hidden in a cupboard. There were also several breakages, which we weren’t told about.

The sitter in September was worse. A self-professed gardener, she wasn’t at all interested in our plants, and most of our pot plants were left to dry out over two hot weeks. She had no intention of staying in and around our home while she was here – she wanted free accommodation so that she could join friends holidaying in the next village.

She allowed the cats to stay out at night, something that we stress we don’t allow because of the dangers of attack from nocturnal animals – a neighbour’s cat was found torn limb from limb a month beforehand. This was explained to her. She maintained that it’s cruel to keep a cat indoors.

She told us not to contact her and refused to answer our house phone (she wasn’t there, we found later). We came home to find glass all over the kitchen – the oven door had exploded. The repair man said he’d never seen it before, and it must have been due to misuse.

The shower room was flooded, towels saturated on the floor. The plug hole was packed with hair and hair dye.

The website refuses to allow unhappy householders to write anything negative about their sitters, so that we have no mechanism for warning about an unsatisfactory sitter. We have previously suggested an open forum on their website, where house owners and sitters could exchange concerns and suggest ways to avoid problems, to no avail.

Liz and Mike Jackson

Editor’s note: A spokesperson for Nomador said, in its case, homeowners and sitters leave recommendations after each house-sitting as part of a ‘mutual review’ system.
In cases where one party may choose not to do so, that is also noted on the profile page of the sitter or homeowner. It also reserves the right to exclude members in more serious cases and say that is often more effective than a bad review.

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