Security cameras are one piece of equipment that you can use to protect your investment. As a property manager, you have many responsibilities. One of them being the anxiety of not knowing how your tenants are treating the property. When it comes to security cameras for rental properties there are a number of legal issues and restrictions. Before you purchase an expensive piece of equipment, here is what you need to know about security cameras for rental properties.
Where Can Property Managers Install Security Cameras?
You can only set up cameras in common areas where there is not any expectation of privacy. Areas that are common to all tenants or focused on the outside of the property, for example, are more reasonable options for camera monitoring…
- Shared apartment hallways, common rooms, stairwells, etc.
- Parking lot
- Front door
- Back door
- Garage door
- Shared patios
- Outside of house
While different states have different laws about recording, make sure you talk to your neighbors before you install any surveillance equipment. You will want your neighbors on your side because they can help to keep your property safe.
Are Security Cameras Subject to Wiretapping Laws?
Since most newer cameras record audio as well as video, there are additional considerations to keep in mind when installing security cameras for rental properties. Federal wiretapping statutes allow audio recording if one of the two parties consents to the recording. This means that you, the recorder, may know, but the other party doesn’t need to. This means you cannot eavesdrop or record any conversations that you are not taking part in. Some states even require that both persons must consent before recording. The safest option for you is to familiarize yourself with your state and federal laws. Also, you could put a clause in your lease that proves that tenants are aware of the surveillance in public places.
If You Are Worried About Legal Implications, There Are Other Options
- Fake Security Cameras – A burglar will not know if your camera is real or not. The fake camera looks just like the real thing, especially with a blinking green light that makes it look like it is on. If you install a fake camera oriented toward your neighbor’s property, make sure you inform them it is fake. If you do this they should not have any issues.
- Security Lighting – Lighting that is triggered by motion offers you a great chance to startle a burglar. You have probably gotten caught in a motion sensor flood light and know the deer in headlights feeling. Or consider timed lights which help you save on electric bills. With the recent, use of solar, LED, and motion sensor lighting you do not have to rack up a high electric bill.
- Wireless Alarm Systems – Wireless security systems are the next generation of security equipment: They offer comprehensive protection, lower installation costs, and easy upgrades. Essentially, a wireless security system is comprised of alarms, sensors, cameras, and various detectors all connected to the main control panel via radio signals. You can also find systems taht sync with your smartphone so you will always know what is going on at your property.
Don’t let these guidelines discourage you from securing your rental property if you desire that a surveillance camera is the ideal security solution for you. However, if you are worried about potential legal implications there are other alternatives.
Contact us (866-500-6200) for more information today!
About Real Property Management Midwest
We are local property management experts serving Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, & Louisville. We manage Single-Family Homes, Apartment Buildings, and Condos. With years of experience, Real Property Management is Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Louisville and Northern Kentucky’s #1 Property Management and Leasing Company.