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Is It Legal to Run a Background Check on a Housesitter?

If you’re worried about hiring the wrong house sitter, you can get some peace of mind by performing a background check on them. The right checking service will help you uncover any history of criminality that might put your home and family at risk. Today, we show you how to do it, plus discuss the regulations you need to abide by.

Run a Background Check on a Housesitter

If you are heading out of town for the winter months, taking an extended summer vacation, or just have a long business trip ahead of you, it is quite possible that you are planning to leave your house in the care of a house sitter. But, if you are, you will probably want to know a bit more about the person who will be looking after your most prized possessions. After all, we have all read the horror stories about housesitters throwing wild parties or clearing out everything of value and then disappearing.

A background check is the best way to do this, but the question many people ask is whether they are allowed to, and what the regulations are around checking a house sitter. In today’s article, that’s precisely what we aim to cover. We’ll also introduce you to the two best background checking sites to use to keep your home safe.

Can you do a background check on a housesitter?

If you have decided to hire a house sitter to look after your property, it is quite natural to want to run an advanced background check to find out more about the person who is going to be looking after your most valuable asset.

The question is, are you allowed to do one? And do you need to?

A lot of people will get friends and family to housesit or mind their house if they are away for an extended period of time. If that is your situation, then the chances are you will neither want nor need to run a formal background check on them. After all, you probably know everything you need to know, and have enough information to make an informed decision of your own.

Alternatively, you might decide to hire a housesitter from a professional company. There are various housesitting websites that usually work as middle-men, and put people interested in being a house sitter together with those who need to use their services.

A lot of these companies will vet all of their house sitters before advertising their services. Others may have a system of running background checks after you have been paired with a sitter. A company should make its policies on background checks clear on its website. If you can’t find that information don’t hesitate to ask.

Usually, they will not work with anyone who has a criminal record or a history of drug abuse. You should be told about anything else that might be relevant before you sign any contracts. It is worth asking the question before you put pen to paper just to be on the safe side.

Hiring and vetting a house sitter independently

Some people choose to hire a house sitter who is a stranger, but who is not connected with through a specialist company or website. This is where things get a little more complicated. If you are planning to go down this route, you are absolutely within your rights to run a background check to get an accurate picture of the candidate before you hire them.

But, because the contract between you is technically that of an employee and an employer, there are some formal steps that you have to take first:

  1. You will need to inform your prospective housesitter that you intend to run a background check on them and get written permission from them in advance.
  2. If the background check uncovers something about them, you will need to discuss this formally with them before deciding not to use them.
  3. It is sensible to ask for references from your prospective house sitter and to follow these up before making any decision about whether or not to use them.
  4. You will most likely need to use a background checking service that is compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This is the legislation that oversees all employment background checks.
  5. You will also have to make sure that any search you run and your hiring process is compliant with other relevant regulations and anti-discrimination laws. These vary from state to state, so check the situation in your part of the country before proceeding.

What is the most effective background checking site?

If you are an individual looking to run a background check on someone, a public background checking site is the best tool to use. There are lots of these sites on the market but some of them are a lot better than others.

We have tested all of the top background checking sites to see which perform best, whether you are checking up on a potential housesitter or anyone else. The result of these tests is that there are two background checking sites that stood head and shoulders above the rest. They are:

1. Instant CheckMate

Instant Checkmate - Editors choice

Instant CheckMate is the perfect background checking site if you need to get results fast. It turns around a search faster than any other site we tested and its speed comes with impressive accuracy rates too. Even with misleading data, Instant CheckMate was still able to generate fast and accurate results.

The Instant CheckMate reports are a real selling point. They look fantastic and are super-easy to read and understand even when present complex information. Their search management tools are impressive too with a well-designed desktop dashboard and slick and neat mobile apps for Android and iOS devices.

Instant CheckMate will cost you $34.78 per month or you can pay $27.82 for a three-month subscription. Lower priced background checking sites are available but if you need results fast and want to be confident in the details, you can be sure you are signing up for the right service in Instant CheckMate.

2. TruthFinder

TruthFinder - Editors choice

TruthFinder is a background checking site that will generate highly accurate results, with even the most minimal of information. In our tests, we tried to fool TruthFinder with false and misleading information. But on every occasion, it managed to cut through this and find the right information.

Using Truthfinder is a pleasure thanks to its excellent tools. The desktop dashboard is exceptional and really easy to navigate around. There are nice mobile apps and the final reports it generates are superb and really simple to read.

Another asset is the fantastic customer support service, which is available on a toll-free number and can be accessed around the clock. With competitive prices available too (just $27.78 monthly, or $23.02 per month when you subscribe to 2 months at a time), TruthFinder is another outstanding background checking site.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Looking for deep insight into your own public record? Try TruthFinder, one of the industry titans. Get the service with our generous reader discount.

Background checking 101

A background check is an online tool that searches through thousands of different public records to pull together a diverse range of information about a person. Background checks are now a part of everyday life in the USA but still, people are often surprised about how much information about someone can be freely and legally accessed through a background check.

The range of information a background check can reveal is staggering and includes:

  • Criminal records (state, county, and city)
  • Education history (high school and college)
  • Employment records
  • Work authorizations
  • Financial records
  • Credit history
  • Driving record
  • License details
  • Social media profiles

Types of checks

There are two main types of background checks that most people will come across.

  1. The first is a consumer background check, which is what most employers and landlords use. This is a comprehensive search that complies with the various rules and regulations that govern this type of background check.
  2. The second is a public background check, which is not restricted by these regulations but cannot always readily access the same sources of information. For the most part, these checks will still turn up most of the same information, if not more, than a consumer check.

How are background checking services used?

Background checks are used for all sorts of different reasons these days. Some of the most common reasons people run a background check are:

  • Employment checksEmployers will almost always run a background check on job applicants before offering them a position. This is to check that their resume is accurate and they are not hiding anything that might preclude them from the job.
  • Criminal checks – Lots of people use background checks to look into someone in their neighborhood or workplace that they don’t trust. If you are worried that someone in your life might be hiding a secret criminal past, a background check is a quick and easy way to find out the truth. Background checks will show up any criminal records or arrest information as well as anything else in their past that you might want to know about.
  • Tracking down a lost family member or friend – Most people have a person from their past that they would like to re-establish contact with whether it be an old girlfriend, a long-lost cousin, or that best friend from elementary school who moved away. A background check is a simple and effective way to track down just about anyone, even if you only have the most basic information to go on.
  • Checking your own records – If you are going to apply for a job or to rent a house, there is a lot to be said for running a background check on yourself first. It is a great way to find out what information about yourself is in the public domain and what a prospective new employer or landlord might find out. It means you are one step ahead of them and you won’t have any unpleasant surprises being thrown at you in interviews or when you have found your dream property.


It takes a lot of trust to leave your house in the care of someone else. So, if that person is a stranger, it is perfectly natural to want to know everything you can about them before you hand over the keys.

A background check is the obvious way to find out all the most important information. In this article, we have explained what a background check can tell you and also detailed the top two public background checking sites on the market right now.

We have also explained when you will and will not need to run a background check on a prospective housesitter and explained the rules and regulations for when you do.

Do you have any good or bad experiences with housesitters? Did you use a background check to find out information about them before they moved in? Did you manage to dodge any bullets thanks to a background check? It is always helpful for our readers to hear about real-life experiences that add to these guides. So, please do share yours with us today using the comment box below.

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