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Can landlords use cameras in rental units?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2023 | Real Estate Litigation

Landlords may want to use cameras as a form of security. In a lot of senses, simply having security cameras in place can act as a deterrent. If someone does break into a unit, security footage can also go a long way toward showing what happened or to helping police find the perpetrators.

But it can be complicated. What rights do the tenants have to privacy? Are landlords still allowed to use cameras, or would that be a violation of the tenant’s rights?

Outdoor cameras are permitted

Outdoor security cameras are allowed to be used. However, it’s very important for landlords to understand where a tenant has an expectation of privacy. The camera can never film them in these locations.

This is why cameras inside of the unit are generally prohibited. They cannot be used in bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, changing areas, living spaces or anywhere else.

Interestingly, it’s even important for landlords to consider the angle of their outdoor cameras. For instance, it’s common for a security camera to include the front door of the unit in the field of view. But if someone is entering the unit and the angle means that the camera sees inside that person’s home, it’s still a violation of their privacy. The camera may be outside, but a tenant always has an expectation of privacy inside the unit.

Resolving disputes

This is one area in which landlords and tenants may find themselves in a dispute, but certainly not the only one. All involved need to be sure that they know about their legal options.