In today’s world where it seems we are always being watched, it is important that landlords know and understand their rights and limitations.
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Deni: Hello, everybody, and welcome to Spark Rental – Weekly podcast, YouTube Stream… A little bit of this and that.
Brian: Facebook Live broadcast. YouTube Stream. Podcast. All the above!
Deni: Absolutely. Last week if you joined us, we talked about the invisible expenses, 12 of them that cost you about 12,000 a year, which is kind of like in your face when you realize the things that you’re really spending money on.
Brian: Down to toilet! Flushed down to bowl.
Deni: Please… As you’re joining us, let us know where you’re coming from. If you have any questions. It doesn’t even have to pertain to this subject today.
Brian: Just let us hear in your voices.
Deni: Or seeing them, I guess. This week, we’re going to talk about the landlord and surveillance.
Brian: Like seeing people’s faces.
Deni: Yeah. So this is the day. I mean, you see it on the news and everywhere else, you know, there’s cameras everywhere. So you can’t. It’s like big brother’s watching. But how much can Big Brother, the landlord, get away?
Brian: How much a Big brother can you become?
Deni: Right, Right.
Brian: Where’s the line?
Deni: So basically a question we get a lot is can you even put surveillance cameras and recording devices like on your properties. Now when you own like a large apartment community? Definitely for parking lots and outdoors and and whatnot.
Brian: Public spaces. Public areas. Communal areas.
Deni: Yes! Absolutely.
Brian: Not your tenant’s bathrooms!
Deni: And actually, that could even work for you in a lot of ways, because if your parking lot has some issues, maybe there’s some car thefts or destruction and you have these cameras, especially if you put, you know, this is patrolled or whatnot, it can actually prevent some of the problems that you might have. So that’s a good thing.
Brian: Yeah, it’s a selling point, like having a security guard, right? I mean, these are security measures that you can use to help sell your units to market them. Safety. Security. But they cannot be inside the units!
Deni: No, you don’t want to be the…
Brian: No cameras inside the unit.
Deni: Looking at bedrooms, Kitchen.
Brian: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And you hear cases of this happening, right, where landlords have been caught occasionally having hidden cameras in tenants, bedrooms in their bathrooms. And not only do they get sued for that, but there can also be criminal penalties for that kind of peeping tom behavior as well.
Deni: And that’s even if the if somebody’s doing something wrong and they actually see that you have a camera in there and they were not notified, you get in trouble. So even if they do something wrong.
Brian: Even if they’re out there murdering people in your unit, if you put that camera in there legally, doesn’t matter. You’re the bad guy. Right? That’s maybe a little bit of a hyperbole.
Deni: Yeah, but still, you’ve got to be careful. So it’s like all we talk a lot about CYA. Cover your butt. But anyway, just to move on, you can get sued. Landlords are a target anyway. And I’m sure if you all been landlords for a certain amount of time, real estate investors, you pretty much know that a lot of tenants. We have an article about the professional tenants who know the ins and outs and suing landlords is something that they do. So this is another reason that a landlord would get sued. So what can you do to protect? Well, one is notify, let them know. You know, “we do have surveillance cameras around the property to protect the outside of the property.”
Brian: This shouldn’t be hidden. They should be clearly visible.
Deni: Right. And let them know, like we talked about earlier, this is to protect the property. And you as our residents, you know, because we care about you.
Brian: And it is there to protect the tenants. I mean, there are cars in the parking lot, right? So, yeah, I mean, it is for their safety and security. It’s not just to protect your building.
Deni: But the biggest take here is that they cannot be hidden and they cannot be in tenant’s personal home. And just to let you know real quick, as a realtor, the one of the big things right now is maybe they’ll have an open house or maybe it’s a vacant house that they’re showing. And a lot of times the sellers will put recording devices throughout the house. Now, this depends on state, but for most states, they can’t do that unless the agent knows that there are recording devices in the home. So even that you have to be careful, which is crazy because somebody’s going into your home.
Brian: Yeah, they don’t have the right or expectation of privacy. In that case, you have possession of the property.
Deni: Yeah it’s the rules are very odd and you know…
Brian: We’re always the bad guy in most states.
Deni: It’s true. And keep an eye on things because this stuff is going to change back and forth over time because this stuff is getting more sophisticated sometimes. You know, you don’t even know where a camera is and it’s so easy to hide them. Now, a tenant may install a camera in their home. But obviously it can’t look into any one of their neighbors homes. There’s peeping Tom or peeping Jane or whatever you want to call it. Now, you usually don’t have to let your landlords know, but check with the states because some states you may have to verbalize that.
Brian: If you set up security cameras in a rental unit, if a tenant sets up security cameras within their own rental unit where they live.
Deni: Correct. Correct. So…
Brian: Can landlords restrict tenants from setting up security?
Deni: In some cases and in some states, yes. So you really Really. Yes. Each state is different. So you definitely want to check with your state regulations and legislation around this. And again, this stuff is changing as more it becomes more sophisticated. There are more court cases now of crimes being caught on camera. And, you know, we’re going to see somewhere down the line somebody murdered something. It was on camera and they didn’t they lost their privacy. So then that’s going to change the whole arena of these things. So, you know, that was a. Big. Anyway, so to wrap it up, just so that you don’t get sued, make sure that they are outside. Make sure that.
Brian: Public areas that can be indoors, but in public hallways.
Deni: Right. Your common areas?
Brian: Yes, common areas. Communal areas. Public spaces around the rental property. Never ever inside tenant’s units.
Deni: You have to let your tenants know. So you want to let them know that there is that. Make sure you check your state laws and don’t restrict your tenants from having these things. Until you check your state law, make sure it’s okay and you can actually put that in a lease. Now, I don’t know why a landlord would restrict restrict that, but I know that there have been some cases where maintenance men, you know, have acted not in the best way. And it was caught on camera. So I could see why some of the residents would use it. But again, you just want to be careful. So it’s disclosed, disclose, disclose and don’t hide the camera and don’t put it in your house and don’t take pictures of neighbors houses. It’s all about privacy and common sense here.
Brian: And don’t be a peeping tom!
Deni: No. And it’s hard because it’s so easy these days. You just, you know.
Brian: Cameras everywhere. Everyone’s watching.
Deni: You can’t even shop anymore. If you shop and you go out like I don’t even like to go out without makeup. But occasionally we all run out to the grocery store without makeup. And then all of a sudden, you know, you see yourself on social media. Well…
Brian: Yeah, I ran to that problem all the time.
Deni: That is it.
Brian: No I don’t!
Brian: Deni, any final thoughts before we call this episode complete?
Deni: No, I don’t think so. Please, everybody send us, you know what things that you want to talk about. Any kind of subject that has to do with real estate investing or landlording, property management, whatever, whatever you want to hear.
Brian: Yeah, we want to. We want to talk about what you want to hear about. This is. This is not a rant, right? It’s not a one way [conversation]. Yes, we have a microphone, but it’s really we want it to be a telephone. We want to have a two way dialog with you and talk about whatever it is that you want to talk about. So on that note, stay in touch support at Spark Rental dot com and we will see you guys next Tuesday!
Deni: Absolutely. Have a good day, guys.
Brian: Bye now.