Apartment managers, landlords and property managers need to do what they can in order to ensure the safety of their tenants, as well as monitor the status of the building. One of the ways to do this is with security camera systems that help regularly feed video to property managers in order to help them make judgment calls about their decisions.
For tenants of such a complex, this move is often met with resistance. While they may not own their residences, they may feel as though the amount they pay each month to live in them entitles them to a fair degree of privacy, as though they own the property themselves. As a property manager, you want to make sure that you avoid any legal issues with where you put security cameras, as well as reduce tenant griping by placing your security cameras in legally and morally justified. You need to be aware with any placement that it is a good idea to have a quick consultation with a lawyer in your state, because there are often legal and privacy concerns with where you can put them. Only a lawyer in your state will know the specific laws governing what you can do.
Places To Keep Security Cameras
· Hallways/Stairwells – These are common areas with no expectation of privacy, as anyone can be coming up the stairs at any time. Since it may be important to monitor who is going up/down/in/out of your building, these areas are acceptable places to keep security cameras.
· Facing the Door – Once again, this allows you to see who enters the property, and there is no expectation of privacy even by tenants. Most tenants will also be pleased to know that the entrance to the entire property is being monitored.
· Outside – Outside of the property, generally anything goes. The outdoors is not considered a private area, so monitoring what goes on outside of the residence is both defensible and great for safety, and will rarely catch even the tenants in private situations.
· Lounges/Common Areas – If your property has publicly available areas that are within the building but do not belong to any one particular tenant (such as a gym, pool, or game room), cameras may be placed here as well. However, these may be seen as breaches of privacy by tenants, so it is a better idea to place security cameras in hallways outside of these common areas to avoid upsetting tenants, especially if any of these areas can be rented out for private parties, resulting in privacy concerns.
Places Not to Place a Camera
· Inside Residences – There are a few states that have more lenient privacy laws, but private residences that are rented out by willing tenants should not have cameras installed without their knowledge and permission. Complicated legal issues could arise, and the expectation of privacy may not be in your favor.
· Facing Apartment Doors – It is best to aim your cameras away from the doors of the apartments/condos, so that you cannot record what is going on inside of their residence when they open and close the door. There are fewer legal issues regarding these setups, but there are moral issues that could easily upset tenants.
· Somewhere Hidden – Hidden cameras may be fraught with legal challenges. By making cameras visible, you instill more trust in your tenants, avoid legal problems, and dissuade illegal behavior.