Protection vs. Privacy: The Right (and legal) Way To Add Video Surveillance To Apartment Complexes

It’s a dilemma every apartment complex owner faces: privacy vs. protection. Your tenants want privacy, and they’re entitled to it. But they also want security, and it’s your responsibility to provide it to some reasonable degree. In addition, you probably have an interest in keeping tabs on activity around the property. Here’s how to do it – the correct, legal way.

Know Where to Place Them

Yes, it’s legal to install video surveillance systems at apartment complexes – as long as they are installed in legal places around the property. As an apartment owner, you have the right to install video surveillance in common areas of the property: the gated driveway, the parking structure, the streets around the community.

In terms of indoor places where surveillance is acceptable, that is limited to places where access is uncontrolled: common hallways, stairways, vestibules and lobbies. Installing video surveillance in these common areas is a feasible way to prevent break-ins, burglaries and suspicious activities. Furthermore, it’s important to notify your tenants that this surveillance is being installed.

Know Where to Avoid

Where is video surveillance not allowed around an apartment complex? In areas where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Although it should go without saying, that includes inside the private units your tenants are renting to live in. But it also includes places like the outdoor community bathroom, the changing rooms near the pool, and even the laundry room. These are places where people expect privacy. Although you can install cameras outside the entrances, inside those areas is off limits.

Know the Key Differences

Landlords, including apartment complex owners, need to know the difference between security and spying. Hidden cameras are called “spy cams” for a reason: They’re for spying, not surveillance. Apartment complex owners should avoid them. In fact, at least 13 states have laws on the books to prevent this. The legal language: “Installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without permission of the people photographed or observed is considered a law-breaking behavior.” Knowing these key differences can protect you as a property owner.

About iS3 Tech Services

iS3 Tech Services is a full-service security deployment provider that services clients throughout the southern United States. Our mission is to help our clients mitigate risks, minimize disruption, reduce costs, and ultimately protect their technology investments. To discuss your electronic security project, call us today at 404-487-6009.