Legalities of Surveilance Cameras in a Rental Property?
February 6, 2014 6:24 AM   Subscribe

Can a rental property owner legally operate covert video recording equipment?

Going to be staying in a rental home soon (in Colorado). It occurred to me that if I owned this type of property I would be inclined to cam the hell out of the place for security, and it's not hard to imagine someone being inclined to do so for more prurient or voyeuristic reasons.

Would this be legal? Broadly, as in cameras wherever the owner wanted them? Would there be exceptions for common spaces as opposed to rooms with a reasonable expectation of privacy? Would security be a reasonable defense? How about outdoor cameras facing in? Does disclosure versus non-disclosure to renters make a difference? Any precedent for this sort of thing?

And, to the second question begged by the first set, in the absence of obvious eyes in the sky or whatever, any tips for spotting covert cameras?

posted by jimmysmits to Law & Government (3 answers total)
See every case of a landlord bugging his tenants, every case of someone who installs video cameras in any property he rents out to other people. Doesn't matter if it's some pervy old dude getting his rocks off spying on the young women he rents to or a non-pervy-but-paranoid landlord 'protecting' his property: there's a legal expectation of privacy.

(and re: disclosure: if I was informed that a prospective landlord already had such cameras installed, I'd run.)
posted by easily confused at 6:43 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: IANAL, but went through something like this with a previous landlord.

Basically, in our case, it was 100% legal to surveil "common" areas in a multi-unit dwelling, but nothing inside the actual unit, i.e., there were cameras in the entranceway and in the back by the garbage door, but nothing inside of units (or even that pointed at the door of a unit, where you could potentially see inside.
posted by Oktober at 6:59 AM on February 6, 2014

Best answer: Disclosure makes ALL the difference. The owner would have to disclose the equipment up front and would need to explain and have sign-off beforehand that the renter would not have the reasonable expectation of privacy.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:00 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

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