Cops from another town broke into my AirBnB but it was the Wrong House…

Luckily my next door neighbor, who also gets great public guest reviews for friendliness and helpfulness, called and let me know while they were there!

and then it went from bad to worse!!!

My guests are leaving early, understandably!!! And I will go against the non-refundable option they booked under.

I also am now planning to sell that house in 2022. I have a nicer, newer, closer (right across the street so I can see it from home) property that I have been fixing up from a foreclosure and look forward to getting that one going on AirBnB instead.

Has anyone here any experience with police kicking in and breaking doors (exterior and interior - the master suite is locked for storage, the other bathroom and bedrooms are in the listing) of your AirBnB? How about while you had guests renting but they were not present but their dogs were? How about they then “secure” the house so that no one can get back into the house and leaving dogs blocked like that?

I really am just so distraught over the whole thing. To make matters worse was when I got the locksmith to get me in and change the locks and then the male guest (of the married couple) got home, he asked if he could call the local police based on how the ones who entered ransacked it. I was all supportive (wish I had thought if it before - while the cops were ransacking the house they intentionally unplugged my modem and router so cameras would not work) and not 30 seconds later (it was dark by now) some rando tweeker who apparently stays with people across the street came up in my yard in the dark and jumped into my side yard damaging my fence, while 4 of the 5 (myself, my mom and step dad as they are driving me becuase I just had a hip replacement, the locksmith and the male guest) of us were standing right there! I yelled at him to get out of my yard He and another guy were causing a lot of noise and nuisance and ended up with 4 or 5 cop cars and a fire truck on my street (a short dead end w a cul-de-sac).

Luckily the guest is seeming being very understanding and great at communicating from the beginning but his wife is understandably not comfortable staying so they will check out tomorrow.

Sorry this is kore hell story rambling than anything else. Because of how all the crap went down this after noon and evening, I am gone alone when I was supposed to be staying with my parents (who actually love about 1/3 the distance to the AirBnB than me). Felt like commiserating here becuase sleep is nothing coming.


Oh Frick. No words for this. I am so sorry.

My thoughts-use as you wish—

Take pictures. Call the police & ask for the offices of victims advocate (you are a victim of the tweeker break-in) and the office of Community Relations. Express your concern & ask what are they going to do about it. Ask what they are going to do to help your guests-anxiety, ruined trip.

Hire an attorney to navigate this. This can get uglier fast.

In writing notify Airbnb of the short version & your approval to early cancellation & refund.

Get a police report.
Call your insurance company-they may can provide guidance. Someone in that company has dealt with this before.
Document in writing for your records as much as you can while your memory is fresh.
Contact your local government representative & make sure they know of this property & reputation damaging police event.
Save whatever recordings you managed to capture.


Thank you. However it was the police from a town over that broke into the house and shed and ransacked it. The tweeker jumped the fence (damaging it in the process) into the side yard right in front of us while we were waiting on the local police to come to report when the police breakin had happened earlier in the afternoon.

I took the pictures I could, of the damages the cops did to 2 exterior doors and an interior one, as well as the ransacking. Then also took pics of the tweeker in my front yard (luckily I had gotten the Internet back up for that and have video as well that I was able to show the local police that came).

Sleep, secure pictures, get a lawyer, inform Airbnb, Be careful what you say if either the local police or those from the other town reach out to you. Once you get a lawyer, only communicate through that lawyer. Worried about legal costs? You should win any action and get legal costs included.


I have been the one reaching out to the police local and the other town. I am trying to figure out what happened, why they felt this level of destruction to private property was warranted and they reimburse me for the repairs and replacements and then at least an apology if not more. The guest is doing he same. Even more troubling is that the department from out of town is the department that serves the guests at their new house!!!

I haven’t had this experience. My only experience with Airbnb and cops was when a neighbor called the police on my Airbnb guest in the middle of the night. Those police were fine and the guest was understanding I suppose. He was from China so probably used to the excesses of the police state.

Many Americans have experienced the kind of bullshit from the police you have as anyone who isn’t blind and reads the news knows. Hopefully they will do the right thing now without you having to go to court. If they don’t, I’d contact local media to see if they have any interest in the story. The other advice offered here is good advice. I hope Airbnb helps you out as they probably don’t want more bad publicity.

This is terrible and you have my sincere sympathy.


The steps outlined by Annet3176 seem like your best course of action.

Trying to deal with the police personally could end up with overlooking some legal technicality or could end up in misunderstandings while emotions are running high. You need a third party, unemotionally attached person advocating for you. At the very least you need reimbursment for damages, additionally reimbursment for lost booking costs and legal fees. This can be handled in a non-adversarial way by a good attorney without the agrivation of going through the process of sueing the department. If negoitations with the department doesn’t work, the attorney will know how to take it to the next level.


Former city government reporter here. A few things:

  1. Yes, definitely call a lawyer for a consultation. Don’t necessarily retain them immediately. You can also call your state ACLU, and I’d recommend that.

  2. Depending on the laws in your state, police may not be responsible for reimbursing you. State laws also vary on whether the losing side of a lawsuit can/will be forced to reimburse legal fees if you file suit and win. It’s good to know all of that up front.

  3. Absolutely call your local newspaper (if you have one) and TV station (broader reach/visual storytelling). If you can, don’t clean up until you know whether the TV station will cover it (b/c visuals are a powerful message). In any event, take lots of stills and video for insurance.

  4. Call these people to complain: Their mayor and/or city executive (depending on who runs daily operations for the city; both won’t hurt); the prosecutor’s office that issued the warrant; the police chief. As you have time, and depending on initial response, you can add in city council members and your state representatives.

  5. Be aware that there are laws in some states that shield police departments from lawsuits in situations like this. I happen to think those laws are garbage, but they stay on the books because people don’t know about them or fight them. That does not mean that you can’t ask your insurance company to go to battle with the city’s insurance company.

I am so, so sorry that happened, and so glad your poor guests weren’t home. I’m not sure I understand the importance of the tweaker to the main problem, so unless it will be clear to others, I might just focus the complaint very, very narrowly: “The cops, serving a warrant, broke into and trashed the wrong house, causing damages and inconveniences that require reimbursement.”

Good luck! Keep us posted.


Cops breaking in to the wrong house was why Breanna Taylor was murdered.

Please vote for people who will take deadly force away from police as much as possible. Police are not the military that authorotarians wish they would be.


Seriously, I am stressed for you. I am so, so sorry. Once you have all your pics, etc. I am interested in how insurance is involved. The good news…you’ll get through this and it will be behind you soon. Hang in there :facepunch:t4:.

I had someone drive a car through my STR (on my birthday). It took days just to get the car out of the house (had to have an engineer out, reinforce the house as the car took out a support wall, etc.). It took 4 months to get back on track BUT insurance covered everything, including lost wages.

It was the guest’s insurance (hoping this other City has insurance for these purposes), but my agent told me I could have filed with them and they then would have gone after the guests’s insurance co.

I think it’s insane that this police department isn’t proactively reaching out to you. I mean, really!? Just because it is a public service/government org doesn’t release it from liability (or should not!). What happens if an officer drives their vehicle through someone’s home during a high speed chase or whatever? Are they not then responsible?

I’m going to decide not to be mad as of yet…I want to see how the neighboring PD is going to respond (although p’d it isn’t proactive; don’t they have someone who deals with Public Affairs or Public Relations?)

Please do keep us informed. I really want to keep track of whatever you learn from this experience. Again, I’m so sorry. I know it’s traumatizing.


Second on the local media. Since your guest was so helpful, maybe the reporter could get a quote from them. People will be very sympathetic with the added concern of those poor trapped doggies.

Leave out the tweeker invasion when talking to the media; it’s just confusing and doesn’t add to the story of “crazy cops swat team the wrong address.”

Thank goodness no people were in the home and possibly terrified or injured by those misinformed or poorly trained/supervised cops.


Thinking of you. Since it is a business day, hoping you were able to get some help with this mess.


I agree I could overlook a technicality or not even know about it. I still feel it’s the best first corse of action. Probably I’m wrong though.

Speaking of lost guest booking fees I am still wondering best corse of action there too. The guest originally booked 05-22Dec non refundable so got a 20% discount for 14 days or more and 10% discount for non-refundable. Asked before booking about flexibility to add or subtract at the end based in house closing. I had said I would refund anything rebooked and no problem addingnas long as it was available (next booking was/is not until NYE for several weeks).

He inquired about shortening it a day so I adjusted the end date so it can be rebooked. Due to it now being a “special offer” I had to make it the nearest whole dollar so he got maybe $0.70 refund.

Then the fiasco and so he wanted to change to 05-11 which eliminates all long term discount and if I refund, should eliminate that discount, too. However, I feel obligated to refund based on the fiasco (even though it was all created by cops in the town where he is moving to his new house, not mine, lol…although not really relevant I guess). Some have said I should just the total nightly amount (not cleaning fee…although he tried to get me to refund that too I said no because that is only refundable if he doesn’t check-in, IAW AirBnB policy) paid and divide it by the number of days and subtract the days he did stay.

I was thinking that by refunding as last described I would’ve need to then calculate those discounts as part of the lost revenue when dealing with the case, so that i didn’t put the burden on the guest. They may not understand that though since they would probably just look at the total refunded. Thoughts?

How would AirBnB help me out? The only thing they have done is lied to the guest telling him they would contact me about refunding him and then badgering me about it only when I contacted them the next dat because they never did contact me. I want them to refund their percentage of service fees based on what I refund, as well as the taxes since we know they will not be submitting taxes in the amount I refund.

I try to do this with each person I refund anything to but have never been successful.

How does this incident provide bad publicity to AirBnB? They aren’t the ones who broke in to my listing. Forgive me for not understanding, I really want to…especially if there is any way I can get AirBnB to pay for anything (based on a lot of crap they have not supported me on in the past that was in their purview).

I think KKC is simply making the point that “Something really bad happened at my Airbnb” is not a headline Airbnb ever wants to see.


I think it will be easiest for you and the most straight-forward is you just refund the exact amount that the guest paid. It will avoid any confusion or extra difficulty. I am sorry, I know that must suck.

Everything about this situation sucks and it was not your fault at all and it most certainly is not fair but in the case that a business is unable to provide the paid for services, they typically just refund the amount that the guest paid. Basically your listing became suddenly (and tragically) unavailable all of a sudden so technically you couldn’t provide the promised accommodations, not really different than any other unexpected situation like the pipes bursting or a fire.

With so much going on, I think it will serve you in many ways to just refund your guest for what they paid. If you only want to refund the days that the guest didn’t stay, then just divide the entire amount by the days booked and give back that fraction x the days not stayed but don’t get into the discounts and such because it is not the guest’s fault that they couldn’t finish their stay. Just my 2 pennies.


I had to get the locksmith out in order to regain entry. And the guest had to remove their stuff because they didn’t feel comfortable (understandably!) and left the next morning.

I very much appreciate these additional steps suggestions.

If the guests had been gone though I imagine they would have opened the door when they knocked. And if hen they would have certainly called me and I could have gone over directly. But yes, the guy had said he wondered if he would have ended up with guns drawn on him for just being in the house!!

I think the main thing that the tweeker has to do with the original story is that it was very likely that the correct house was the one directly across the street, which was where the tweeker was staying. He may have been emboldened to watch the cops swarm, kick my doors in and trash the place, knowing that he was the intended target. Emboldened him even more to come meddle with us just after it got dark.

You know, the potential severity of this instance hadn’t even entered my mind until you said this…. Thanx. Gives me mire impetus to fight this.

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And wouldn’t you known it they had just been let out to potty when the tweeter came in the yard in the dark behind us. It was the dogs that alerted us. They were still so scared they didn’t potty!

And they were so scared from the cops ransacking everything that when I finally got in (with parents and locksmith, they never even made a peep). He said it wasn’t until several hours later that they even calmed down enough to eat.

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Not today, but I am finally catching up on some sleep and feeling a little better (and reducing the meds considerably, so I am also a bit more lucid.). Tomorrow will hopefully be a great day to do so.