HOAs and Video Surveillance

These days, cameras are everywhere. On the street, in parking lots, in our phones, in businesses, in drones … the list is endless. Chances are if you’re doing something anywhere but inside your own home, you’re being recorded.

Cameras are hailed as deterrent to crime and condemned as invaders of privacy. So should you consider using such a divisive piece of technology for your HOA property? There are several considerations if you’re thinking about it.

Right out of the gate, is it legal for an HOA to use video cameras? As it turns out, yes, it is. The only places they can’t be used are ones where homeowners have a reasonable expectation of privacy, like locker rooms and bathrooms. They also can’t be set up in such a way that they might record any part of a homeowner’s unit. But they can certainly be installed at front gates, near entrances, and in parking garages.  (Pilera recommends you confirm the above information with your state/attorney as it may vary)

So now that we know surveillance cameras are legal for an HOA, are they useful? Well, studies suggest that they’re helpful in reducing property crime like theft and car break-ins. Not only do the cameras serve as a deterrent, they help in identifying the criminals committing these crimes. So yes, as long as they’re regularly maintained, cameras are definitely useful.

Finally, does the HOA need to post signs regarding cameras in use on the property? The answer is no, there’s no law requiring signs. However, the same studies that found cameras to be an effective deterrent found that signs identifying cameras are also effective, so posting signs is actually a good idea, whether you’re required to or not.

However you may feel about cameras monitoring your HOA, they are fundamentally a good idea, and should be discussed openly with residents. As long as they don’t infringe unduly on personal privacy, cameras can be a vital tool in keeping a property safe.

Pilera is a best-of-class, easy-to-use, comprehensive online property management solution for apartments, condos, and associations. Pilera provides the easiest, most comprehensive data management capability available to property managers, leasing agents, boards of directors, and back-office personnel. Quickly and easily access whatever you need, whenever you need it, from wherever you need to be with office or mobile phone connectivity. You are never out of touch. Act on the document/information accessed from the office or “on-the-road” with Pilera-supported mobile capability. Contact us today!

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