Relevant news for those of you who were planning to leave your home in the care of a sitter the next time you go on vacation: A San Francisco couple hired someone to take care of their house while they frolicked at Burning Man, and were shocked to find that the guy watching over their castle was renting it on Airbnb for a tidy profit. How’d they find out? The dude accidentally booked the couple’s friends as guests.

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The Guardian reports that the couple, named John and Ed, found the house sitter on a website called Trusted Housesitters, which promises to connect homeowners going on vacation with strangers who will watch their house for free (first red flag right there). The couple, who had used the sitter before and had done a police check to make sure he was on the up-and-up thought everything would be cool; he’d even fixed their internet in the past. But then they received a message from friends thanking them for letting them stay in their home to the tune of $2000 for five nights.

John and Ed were approaching Black Rock desert on the way to Burning Man when the email arrived from a friend. “Thanks for letting us stay in your apartment this weekend!”

John looked at his husband in confusion. There must be some mistake – they had left their San Francisco apartment with their professional housesitter.

“No, it’s definitely your house – your car, your wedding photos, your cats,” said his friend. “We found it on Airbnb.”

The sitter, whose profile is apparently still up on the site, claims that there was a miscommunication between him and the homeowners, but the violated couple says there’s no way they would have either (1) allowed him to post their house on Airbnb or (2) forgotten that they had. And if nothing else, there’s absolutely no way they would have allowed him to move their Niall Horan cutout from the living room to the garage. Nor would they have allowed the sitter to remove blankets they left on the couch for their their cats. And, The Guardian reports, they’re still looking for a laptop charger that has disappeared.

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The case was reported to the SFPD—after John and Ed’s friends changed the locks—but it’s unlikely that the couple will see a resolution that’s satisfactory in their eyes. And that’s partly because they arranged this particular housesitting adventure on their own, without utilizing the website on which they’d met their internet-fixing grifter.

Airbnb removed the listing from their site, but according to John and Ed, they’ve been pretty slow about it. The sitter’s refused comment, but The Guardian reports that his profile on Trusted Housesitters says that he’ll take care of any house that he’s watching “as if it were his own.” Mystery solved? Maybe he just loves to Airbnb.

John and Ed will have a friend watch their house next time they’re out of town, but considering that their home was snatched up at the unholy price of $400 a night, perhaps they might consider renting it out instead.


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.

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