Can You Do a Background Check on a House sitter?

Hiring a House sitter? You Might Want a Background Check

How can you protect your property when you plan to be away from home for an extended period? Some people may need to leave home for weeks or even months. Empty properties could be targets for burglars and other bad actors. There will be no one to care for the inside of the home, either. Often, this situation requires house sitting, meaning someone else will care for your property while you’re away. When hiring a house sitter, a background check should be a part of the process.

That does not mean you will always need to vet your house sitter. Many people turn to someone they know to ask for help, such as a friend or neighbor. Even relatives can help in saving money by looking after the property. However, these arrangements aren’t appropriate for every situation.

Less formal housesitting arrangements are most common when the homeowners are only away for a week or two. In some cases, an owner may need more help. Let’s explore what this job entails and why you should screen any third parties you hire with a background check.

What does a house sitter do?

A house sitter lives in and cares for your home and pets like you do, making it seem that someone is home. When you go away for a long time, it’s best to ensure you don’t come home to unwelcome surprises. Maybe you’re leaving for a few weeks for spring break. Perhaps you’ll be gone for months throughout the entire winter season. Regardless, you can’t quickly return home. A house sitter follows your directions on caring for the property and attending to emergencies.

A short or long-term house sitter can have many duties. In some cases, they may also be a pet sitter. A pet owner may not always be able to travel with their animal. Some pets, such as fish, require frequent and special care. Sitters can handle these essential daily tasks. They can also keep an eye on your plants or garden. In winter, they may ensure your walk remains snow-free, and the home’s pipes don’t freeze. As mentioned, they will also be a theft deterrent.

A sitter may only visit your home a few times a day if you prefer them not to live in your home. Free accommodation is a standard part of many house-sitting arrangements. You often pay a fee for these services whether you know the person or they’re a professional house sitter.

Screening sitters before you hand over the keys is essential for your peace of mind. After all, you agree to let a stranger into your private space. Without screening, you might hire someone who could put your property, pets, or even neighbors at risk. How you approach screening will depend on how you hire a house sitter.

Using a Third Party Service

Today, several online services simplify finding a house sitter. These services speed up the process of finding someone in your local area. You can tailor search criteria to find individuals with the right experience and fit for the job. You might even be able to specify that you also need someone to provide pet care or garden work.

Most of these services require sitters to undergo a background check to appear on the app. Always check company policies when you use a third-party service. Services should verify whether someone has a criminal record. Companies protect themselves from liability in doing so and also provide for your peace of mind. Services may also drug test sitter applicants. If you can’t find the policy for your chosen service, contact their customer support team.

Using Background Checks on Your Own

You may not wish to use a third-party service to hire a house sitter. Perhaps you’d rather make a private house-sitting agreement with someone. In doing so, you won’t be able to rely on a business to screen the candidate for you, and you’ll need to handle this process yourself.

You should plan to follow a more formal approach to selecting a house sitter this way. Technically, you become their employer. To avoid potential legal problems, you should screen candidates per employment law in your area.

Be Sure to Follow the Law

Most local “ban the box” laws only apply to companies with a specified number of employees. As an individual, you can likely ask criminal history questions at any time. Check the law in your area for certainty. More importantly, you must comply with the rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

When you choose a house sitter to hire, disclose that you will use a background check. The FCRA has specific language to use for this process. You should also obtain the individual’s consent. You may also rely on a tool such as the self-entry program from In this setup, you can send a sitter directly to our website to submit their information. We provide relevant FCRA disclosure and consent forms to satisfy legal requirements. We then furnish you with the criminal history report you ordered.

What you consider disqualifying is your prerogative—this is your home—it makes sense to want to protect it. Look for warning signs such as convictions for violent assaults, grand theft, or larceny. Before dismissing a candidate, consider discussing your findings with them. They may provide additional information you should consider.

Understand How to Protect Your Home by Vetting Sitters First

A house sitter is a valuable asset when you leave home for long periods. Don’t forget about screening whether you use a housesitting app or hire someone directly. A house sitter background check is a critical element of due diligence. Find fast, detailed results nationwide with our US OneSEARCH today. Need a narrower focus? Order a state check or get a county-level background check to verify your house sitter’s suitability today.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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