House Break In - Charge Guests for damages?

I had guests staying this past weekend and when they left to go to wedding, they left the garage door wide open. Some random guy walked right into the garage and trashed my house (flipped over furniture) and ripped a door off the hinges.

The weird thing is, that the “thief” didn’t steal anything and just destroyed my home.

Should I charge the guests for damages since they left the garage door open? 100%? 50%?

Any advice is appreciated.

On the basis that absolutely nothing was stolen, I start by working back to see who I’d pissed off recently…



I would review as a priority your security.

No-one should be able to access your place that you STR , through an open garage door.

You need a door in-between the garage and your main house that will automatically close. @turnercress


I reviewed the security footage and do not recognize this guy.

You should file a police report and contact your homeowner’s insurance company.


I hope your homeowner’s insurance agent knows that you do Airbnb!


Charge the guests? It’s your responsibility to make sure that you provide a safe and secure place for them to stay, not the other way around.

You say that nothing was stolen but turn that on its head for a minute. Imagine that the guests return from their wedding and find the place trashed and some of their belongings stolen.

Do they have a case to claim on your STR insurance because you were negligent in not providing a secure place? And do they suddenly ‘remember’ the expensive laptops that were stolen and the jewellery and the luxury watches etc. etc. etc?

When you were inspected for your STR license surely the authorities didn’t pass a place that could be easily accessed via the garage?

Can you let us know a bit more? I’m not understanding how this could happen.


The guests left my garage door open for 4 hours or so while they were gone, so anyone could easily walk in. When the garage is shut, it is very difficult to get into my home.

Basic security precautions are all in place.


What was the guests response, coming back to a trashed house?

They were shaken up and left the house to stay somewhere else the final night.

It just really sucks because if they kept the damn garage shut, the guy wouldn’t have been able to get in.

It’s going to be at least 1-2k in damages, so I’m trying to figure out if I should charge them or not still.

What does your home insurer say?
I can see a No has house was insecure.
I can see this scenario.
You charge the guests, guests say no.
You start a claim via the Airbnb guarantee.
That is a maybe, they may say - you claim on your insurance, they may pay up.
The kicker here is that you need to start this with in 14 days or before the next guest check in.
Where are you in this time line?

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I’ve already mentioned it to Airbnb’s safety team. The next guests come Sunday. I’m worried about claiming some of the deposit money and getting dinged for it on the review as well as trying to be fair to the guests.

Your guests have to agree to the claim being made against the deposit.
Airbnb don’t hold it.
I think you are already up for a poor review.
Start your claim!

The guests are not responsible for the actions of a vandal. I would tell you to pound sand if you tried to charge me for something like that. You say had they closed the door it would not have happened. I say where in the world do you live/rent that the minute the garage is left open something like this happens?

Clean up and move on I would say.



I live In the city where these types of things can randomly happen whenever. I’ve been renting the house out for 3 years with no issues.

They left the vertical sliding garage door wide open for more then 4 hours.

I guess I will need to put a sensor on there to automatically shut it the door within a predefined time from this point forward.

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I think the guests were wrong to leave the house wide open.
Irresponsible behavior. This is not your fault that they failed to close the doors.
I disagree with all the others who are blaming you.
Maybe make the garage off limits in the future? And have been signs that the cameras are monitoring the exterior of the house.
I dont think you can charge them, but they are in the wrong.


It’s easy to forget to close a garage door, and garage openers don’t always function perfectly. Sometimes our garage door goes halfway and then reverses itself. If we didn’t know to watch for that, we’d leave the door open far more often than we do.

If the host will continue to include the garage in the STR, the best solution is for the garage to have a sensor/camera that notifies the host if the door is left open. The host is ultimately responsible and should be able to operate the garage door and other exterior locks remotely.

And, as I said earlier, if the host’s homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover STR, I’d be very cautious about reporting this to insurance. The company could cancel the policy outright. (STR insurance is necessary.)

Thanks for the advice. I definitely have the proper STR insurance for this house as it is my only source of income at the moment. I don’t think a $1,000-$2,000 claim is worth going through the insurance company though.

This incident is very bizarre though as the “thief” did not steal anything, which I know their had to be expensive items in there since I just found out that one of the guests is a highly successful professional athlete.

Maybe the thief/vandal knew the guests.

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Unlike some here, I don’t blame you. OTOH, I don’t blame the guests entirely either. You need to have more control over the rental like a smart garage door that alerts you when left open and which you can control remotely. There are a lot of things guests do that are irresponsible. They leave windows unlocked or entry doors open as well. You have to guest proof the house.

I wouldn’t charge the guest but I’d certainly tell future hosts in the review. This is one of those unfortunate things that happens when you run a business.