Vacation rental tenants are encountering properties with security cameras installed more and more, which causes concerns about violation of privacy.
Is it legal for homeowners to install security cameras at a rental property? Are there specific areas where surveillance can be placed or not? Do tenants have to be notified if surveillance cameras are in place?
Homeowners are within legal bounds to install surveillance cameras to protect their property. Cameras must be visible in common areas such as front door, driveway, backyard. This is considered a reasonable measure to protect against break-ins, and suspicious activities.
Homeowners are not allowed to install surveillance cameras in any interior spaces where tenants have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Invading a right to privacy can lead to a law violation. While there are no laws regarding security cameras, there is a law that covers wiretapping. In most states, you are absolved from wiretapping if you have the consent of at least one of the parties involved. However, in Massachusetts, there’s the “two-party consent” law. The law states that you need the consent of both parties to legally record a conversation. Otherwise, you might be convicted of wiretapping. Bottom line, when using a security camera, be sure that people who are recorded know that they are being recorded.
Hidden cameras are absolutely forbidden inside rental homes. In many states, unauthorized installation or use of hidden cameras is a punishable felony with a significant fine and up to 2 years in prison. If hidden cameras are revealed in rental homes and found invading occupants’ right to privacy, the homeowner will surely face numerous criminal charges and heavily penalty.
If the homeowner intends to install cameras outside or inside the property, they should notify the rental agency to be transparent and specific about the visible surveillance system with tenants before signing any leases.
Where the benefits of having camera protection at a rental property are good, it is not unreasonable for a vacation rental tenant to object to being observed while on holiday.
It is recommended to homeowners to use surveillance sparingly during the rental season. During the off seasons is a reasonable time for use when your property is unoccupied and vacant for a while and driveways or backyards can be exploited.
What should a tenant do if hidden surveillance cameras are found in a rental property? Review the lease contract carefully to see if the presence of homeowner surveillance cameras is mentioned in written form. If the homeowner really puts hidden security cameras inside your rental property without permission, demand the rental agency ask the landlord to remove the cameras right away.
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