Real Estate Blog: Legal risks of security cameras to property owners

In May 2019, I appeared on WTNH, News 8 cautioning property owners about the installation and placement of security cameras on their property.  I warned of the possible liability and claims that could arise by an installation that may show your neighbor and their property.

There are high instances of invasion of privacy and nuisance claims when cameras are installed improperly, especially in residential neighborhoods.

Recently, despite the homeowner claiming he installed the devices in good faith and as a deterrent to burglars, he has been found liable for certain privacy claims brought to Court by a neighbor. He is now subject to significant fines and civil liability.

In the judgment against the homeowner, the Court found that the ring doorbell captured images of the neighbor’s house, garden and parking space.

The Court ruled in part, “personal data may be captured from people who are not even aware that the device is there or that it records, processes audio and personal data.”  To that end, the Court found the homeowner liable for the breach of data laws and data protection laws.  Despite the fact that this judgment arose in the UK, it highlights the need for homeowners who install ring doorbells or similar devices to be careful not to infringe on someone’s expectation of privacy.

An installer must be certain that the area in which the device is collecting data is specific to his/her property only.  It cannot show a neighbor’s property, backyard, driveway or any other area where there may be an expectation of privacy.  If it does, the homeowner will subject himself to liability.

With the increase of these devices and the expansion of technology in the home, these types of cases will inevitably increase.  A homeowner must protect himself from liability.  If you have any questions about this, or any issue pertaining to real estate, please contact Vincent J. Averaimo at Barton Gilman LLP.