Surveillance Cameras and HOAs: What Residents Need to Know
- by Alana Ashby
As the affordability and technical quality of surveillance increases, cameras are increasingly considered by HOAs.
Surveillance must be for the entire community and not one single person. This would offend the resident and probably create a claim of privacy invasion. Recording devices could record people’s conversations without their consent and would violate the law, so only stick with video without audio.
Signs about the surveillance should always be posted to alert people that recorded surveillance is present in that given area.
Individual owners sometimes wish to install their own cameras. It’s a good idea to have a written rule requiring cameras not point into neighbor’s windows or yards.
If the association has recorded video monitoring, the privacy interests of all residents are protected best by prohibiting residents’ or owners’ access to the recordings. Access should only be provided to the Community Manager, security, and law enforcement. Keeping the recordings private helps assure homeowners that their privacy is protected and respected.
If an HOA community has many problems in common areas, the board might be required to take reasonable steps to increase the security, such as installing the security cameras.
Boards may want to consult with their local law enforcement, security vendor, Community Manager, and legal counsel before installing cameras.
Alana Ashby, CMCA and owner of AMI, helped to establish and served as a Board Member for Community Associations Institute (CAI) Idaho Chapter. Alana has extensive experience in all aspects of financial management, real estate development and management, as well as negotiation.
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