cannot record any area where an individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. As property management pro- fessionals, we should all expect that we are being recorded every time we enter a resident’s unit. It is our duty to remain professional while inside an occupied property and to avoid violating the privacy of the resident while still protecting our client’s investments. Although, it is illegal for a resident to re- cord you inside their property, it is happening. Property managers are encouraged to write a policy about what can be discussed while inside an occupied property in the event that the resident is recording audio. Property managers are also en- couraged to discuss these policies with maintenance providers and independent contractors. There are benefits and detri- ments to video and audio sur- veillance for property managers. The best course of action is to be familiar with the laws in your state and ensure that if you are recording that you are following the laws. Be aware that your residents may be recording as well. Remember that recording someone for the purpose of blackmail or other malicious intent is illegal in any situation. •
able searches and seizures…” and requires that a court decide if there is probable cause before issuing a search warrant. The amendment does not offer the right to privacy from unauthorized videotaping, and the Supreme Court, in the case of Delaware v. Prouse, ruled that “people are not shorn of all Fourth Amendment protection when they step from their homes onto the public sidewalks.” Each state can pass their own laws pertaining to video surveil- lance, which means that laws vary by state. In Colorado, the state prohibits anyone from knowing- ly observing or taking any visual images of another person’s body without consent in situations where the subject of the filming or photography has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Similar- ly, New York, Rhode Island, and California prohibit video cameras anywhere where an individual has a reasonable expectation of com- plete privacy, such as changing rooms, hotel rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms, and any place where a person may get undressed. In Del- aware and Connecticut, businesses must notify the public if there are any video cameras on the property that may break any expectations of privacy, even in a changing room or bathroom. If there is a public notice advising the public that video sur- veillance is in use, an individual’s rights to privacy are forfeited. United States Code, Title 18, Sec- tion 2510 says that audio recording is not legal unless all parties are aware of that recording is taking place, but many states have different laws. For example, many states have single-consent or one-party consent laws, which means that only one party must agree to the recording of a conversation. In a single consent
state, it is legal to record a conver- sation that you are participating in without notifying the other party to the conversation, but it would be ille- gal to record a conversation that you are not participating in (i.e., eaves- dropping or wiretapping.) To avoid violating the law, it is best practice to disclose if audio recording is taking place with a prominently displayed sign or a pre-recorded message on a phone system. For residential property manage- ment, local and state laws generally permit landlords to install cameras in public spaces or common areas and prohibit cameras in any area where a resident would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Having visible surveillance camer- as monitoring common stairwells, parking lots/garages, entryways, etc. can provide extra security for residents and prevent crime and suspicious activity. A property man- ager should never install surveil- lance cameras inside a resident’s personal living area or even in a manner that allows recording of the inside of the Residence. Hidden cameras should also be avoided as they are illegal in many states. Residents also have the right to have surveillance cameras. Prop- erty managers can prohibit the physical installation of cameras due to the damage installation may create or require written permis- sion for installation of cameras but cannot prohibit a resident from having surveillance cameras inside the property. Residents installing exterior cameras can be of con- cern, especially in multi-family living situations. Resident cameras may lead to complaints from neigh- bors. The same laws apply to the resident as they do to the property manager. A resident can record “public or common” areas but
This content is brought to you by National Association of Residential Property Managers ®
On Camera WHAT PROPERTY MANAGERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT VIDEO AND AUDIO SURVEILLANCE.
Danielle Rogers, RMP (Residential Management Professional) is the Comp- troller for All Seasons, LLC, CRMC ® , in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Danielle
by Danielle Rogers, RMP ® , MPM ® Candidate
earned her real state license in 2007. She helped All Seasons, LLC, earn the prestigious CRMC ® designation in 2008 from the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and earned her RMP ® in 2009. She is a candidate for the Master Property Manager (MPM ® ) designation. Members of NARPM receive information like this article every month through its news magazine, Residential Resource. To join, or learn more, visit NARPM.org/join.
mile. You are on camera — practically all the time. Video
managed properties. Residents are also using their own video sur- veillance; so, an understanding of their rights is also important. Many video cameras now include audio recording, which brings into play regulations regarding recording
audio as well. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the only legislation that comes close to addressing a federal stance on video surveillance in that it pro- tects all citizens from “…unreason-
recording devices and surveillance video are prevalent in today’s soci- ety. Residential property managers need to know the laws associated with video surveillance at their
34 | think realty magazine :: july / august 2019
thinkrealty . com | 35
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