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Is it legal for condo owner to put security video cams in common areas?

Posted on Wed, Oct 05, 2011 @ 06:54 AM
I installed security cameras at my front door, top of garage & side yard which is a common area. I was told I needed to get permission of the association to do this. Is this correct and is there a California law that prohibits having cameras in a condo?



In Florida, any changes made to a unit or common area requires Board approval. You can think of The Board as the governing body of the common space. If you have not yet been asked to remove the cameras I would suggest that you seek Board approval as they may have the authority to remove your personal camera equipment. If you are concerned about security you may want to petition the Board and other owners to have common area cameras installed. Additionally, you may volunteer to donate your camera equipment to the Association. 
We are a property management company specializing in Condo's and HOA's in South Florida... I hope this may help you. Good luck!

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 7:07 AM by Marc Rodriguez

Approval of the Board of Directors or the Chair of your covenants committee-if you have one- is required for yout to install the security cameras. There is no law that would override the boards decision.

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 7:48 AM by Charles Adler

I put security cameras in my windows recording outside. Is this legal?

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 9:36 AM by l

It's not that it's illegal to install security cameras, it's just that an assn member has no authority to make any changes to common areas. You must obtain permission from the BOD. I doubt that it would be denied as it is a security measure. Any board that would deny a security measure is treading on thin ice, IMO.

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 10:08 AM by mary

Although it is a security measure and it is something that the Board would need to approve, one question begs to be asked. Where is the feed to the security cameras going? Who is "watching" or "recording" the comings and goings of the association? 
The board should also open discussions to the rest of the homeowners. Many may question their right to privacy. If it is a security concern, a guard - although I'm sure more costly - would be more effective. The security cameras are worthless - until AFTER the fact - unless you have someone watching the screen 24/7. Bottom line ... the homeowner had no right to install the cameras out of his own volition.

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 10:42 AM by Raffaella Caputi

It seems like people are loosing the rest of their freedom and rights when they become members of Condo/HOA.  
Even little security cameras on their "own" door is a matter of someone else decision/approval, despite it is not prohibited, and you can find it everywhere in the stores etc...  
Isn't it getting ridiculous?

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 11:07 AM by Maria

I see nothing wrong with security cameras as long as they only viewing within the boundries of the unit. With this recession & crime, some people have valuables they want to protect. 
The HOA installed cameras at our Clubhouse. This is fine for protection of a crime or property damage. Unfortunately someone other than the POLICE is viewing the Video 'daily'. They are also using it to send letters out of owners violating the rules of the clubhouse. I beleive their is a law which stipulates this action illegal according to condo laws. Previously the Pres. of the HOA was viewing the cameras from the comfort of his home. 
We are a community of (3) associations & converened by the HOA. 
Clearwater, Florida

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 1:08 PM by Albert

Never buy a condo, the BOD controls everything and gives you no help. The landscaping stinks but they tell you what to do. THANKS

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 2:42 PM by Jeri

Mounting security cameras on the exterior of your unit or where visible from a window may violate the rules of the association. Be sure to check with the board before doing anything to alter the outward appearance of your unit. I must respond to Albert's comment about cameras. We had many late night vandalism occurrences at our cabana. Out of desperation, the board approved a security camera system to be installed. The board president is the only one who has the time available to monitor the recordings. She must stand on tip toes to view the monitor that is kept behind locked doors in a small janitor closet. If there was an inexpensive way to get that monitor in her unit we would do so. Watching it in more comfortable surroundings might save her a neck ache or two. Since the cameras were installed, vandalism has dropped significantly. It was a wise investment.

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 2:43 PM by Renee

If the BOD balks and makes you remove the cameras, you could probably install them so the lens in against inside windows. Not perfect, but better than nothing. The BOD would have no control over what is inside your unit, even a security camera. However, discuss with them first. They might be willing to cooperate or put in cameras of their own. Raffaella Caputi asked who is monitoriing them. The cameras record what they see, often on a tape that can be watched on the camera or on a television or monitor. Nobody has to monitor them all the time. The idea is that if something happens there is a record. Of course, it would be "after the fact", all video camera recordings are "after the fact," unless you have a security staff monitoring them 24 hours a day. After the fact recordings can be used in a court should they find someone doing something illegal. Of course the perpetrator might not be identified or caught, but it's still better than nothing if you're worried and measures can be taken, perhaps beef-up entry security. 

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 3:03 PM by Louise

It's fine to be angry at the world and take it out on your BOD. But when you do that you need to understand what's involved. 
I am assuming your HOA uses language in its CC&Rs that prohibit any modifications to common area by individual owners. Installing security cameras (or anything else) is a modification. This has nothing to do with privacy or who is watching. It has all to do with CC&Rs enforcement. 
Lets say someone else installs cameras but they are big and ugly, what if they install them too low and people hit them with their head, what happens to these cameras if there is a construction project and they get in a way, who is responsible for repairing the wall after cameras are removed. Before you get all angry at the BOD not allowing it you need to answer these questions and many others. 
Board of Directors are there to enforce rules as they are recorded. You have the power to change those rules. But please don't get mad for people doing their jobs. 
P.S. To the person that was complaining about recordings in the clubhouse: as long as those cameras are in plain view and some type of notice was given there is nothing wrong with recording. Remember this is in common (public for association use) area.

posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 10:24 PM by Jeff Ross

Actually, I understand that Florida law allows any retired law enforcement officer to have security cameras outside of his or her unit. However, the view of such cameras should be restricted as much as possible to the area immediately outside of the unit.

posted @ Thursday, October 06, 2011 9:25 AM by Tim DeHoff

When you install cameras in clubhouse, pool,entrance gates and common areas it normally for seeing if anyone damages the property. Each owner should be sent a letter certified that in no way are these cameras "safety protection ".People tend to feel totally secure with cameras and at a later date could sue if they are not protected by these cameras. In our property mgmt we only look at the camera if something is missing or the entrance gate is broken. After so many hours it records over each day.The cameras should not be meant as a form of security which could be open for law suits later. Peep holes, good locks and alarms with in each unit is what an owner can do for his/her own protection. HOA's should not be in the business of providing security other then keeping walks clean, trees/bushes trimmed,lighted hall ways/yards and driveways/garages. No holes in the common yards to fall in , stairwells kept free of debris. If someone feels unsafe form a watch group.Check with your police dept to see if they have www.crimeweb.net site to alert you or someone in the association of what crime is going on in the neighborhood. Here in Charleston we have this from our police dept. Good luck

posted @ Thursday, October 06, 2011 10:40 PM by Judith

My cameras are in my home. My kitchen window looks at my front door. My diningroom at my back door. I would love to see bod take my rights away inside of my condo. I live with a bunch of nuts. I would sell if I could afford to lose the money. Had known they were nuts I would not have bought my cond. But then again I have heard to many horror stories. To many bod's get on a high and think they are GOD.

posted @ Friday, October 07, 2011 8:27 AM by l

My next door neighbors went ballistic over our cameras (and I have BOD approval). It’s a really nice community with lots of great people – we just had the misfortune to be sandwiched in between a couple of nuts. Protect yourself and your family…don’t worry about what the idiots are thinking. It’s ironically funny that both neighbors are among the biggest violators of community rules.

posted @ Friday, October 07, 2011 9:28 AM by Tim DeHoff

Tim DeHoff wrote: "It's ironically funny that both neighbors are among the biggest violative od community rules.". Nothing ironic in that. They don't want to be caught! All the more reason to keep the cameras going. I hope the cameras are not vulnerable to vandalism. It could get expensive, and the tape would be gone so you wouldn't be able to prove who did it.

posted @ Friday, October 07, 2011 10:04 AM by Louise

"I" said some BODs think they're God. I guess we should call them God BODs. 

posted @ Friday, October 07, 2011 10:09 AM by Louise

I have just a simple question can I or can I not have a survelliance camera be placed inside my window facing my door entrance and another one inside my front window facing my parking spot of my car. It does not say anything of on the rules of the association where I live I have been having alot of problems starting with the president of the association, from snooping in windows to manually lowing the water pressure for the unit to throwing away my flower pots that are right outside my door. This is the only option that I have to put cameras from the inside to catch himm on the spot. And someone already tried getting into my car.

posted @ Wednesday, February 01, 2012 2:25 PM by mrs. molinary

Interesting topic. I never thought about the regulation of surveillance when it comes to condos. 
Mike Wilson

posted @ Saturday, April 13, 2013 3:56 PM by Mike Wilson

of course you can put cameras inside your condo looking out. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years, since 2 of my psycho neighbors poisoned my garden. The one who actually put the roundup on my garden was highly intoxicated, on parole for DWI and leaving the scene of an accident. There were eye-witnesses, police reports and a drunken confession, yet the condo board did nothing.The poisoner continue to taunt me with. This board of directors was in for a shock when they found themselves guilty of discrimination.

posted @ Wednesday, April 17, 2013 1:01 PM by pat

I'm at a loss as to why you think the BOD should have done something. The incident you mention was a matter for the police, not the condo board. The BOD has no business getting into conflicts between neighbors.

posted @ Wednesday, April 17, 2013 3:39 PM by mary

“I'm at a loss as to why you think the BOD should have done something. The incident you mention was a matter for the police, not the condo board. The BOD has no business getting into conflicts between neighbors.” 
The police told me that since the garden was in common ground (of which I had gone through the arduous ARC process and obtained written permission for) that the condo board needed to take legal action against these vandals, as well as take action against them using their condo board powers such as fining them . They should also have directed our private security guards to monitor the vandals and actively try to prevent further harassment/ discrimination and crimes of this nature from occurring again. Indeed, they could have installed their own security cameras to monitor the situation. 
The Police officers made a report, left me their phone #'s, including cell phone # and asked that the condo board call them. The Police noted that my entire garden was saturated in stinky chemicals (later identified as Round-Up) and interviewed the eyewitnesses to the crime. The Police officer said that the board must take a very firm stand against those vandals or things would go downhill here very quickly. The eyewitnesses also provided written statements to the board. The board refused to even call the Police officers who investigated or talk to the eyewitnesses who had submitted their written statements.  
Since one was a special friend of a board member, nothing was done to the vandals. They did take up a new hobby immediately though – sitting at a picnic table across from my condo, laughing and drinking together. It really was shocking. 
You are wrong about board members having no business getting involved in conflicts between neighbors. When crimes are committed against owners and/ or discrimination/harassment of owners occurs, the board is obliged to intervene or face legal charges of their own.  

posted @ Thursday, April 18, 2013 8:03 AM by pat

Hi Pat, 
I appreciate you taking the time to tell the whole story. If you had stated that your garden was a common area, my reply would have been quite different. Any acts of vandalism committed on common areas must be addressed by the BOD. And if these vandals are now sitting at a picnic table, that is on common area, drinking that should be addressed by the board. Getting drunk and harrassing people on common areas is definitlely a board issue. Or maybe you need to get a restraining order on them. It appears to me you have a very errant board that is violating their fiduciary duty to the assn. Methinks it's time for a recall. 
Having said that, I must stand on my statement that the board has no business getting involved in disputes between neighbors. Crimes committed against owners and discrimination/harassment against owners are legal matters to be handled by the PD, lawyers and judges. The only time the BOD should get involved is if something occurs on assn. owned property. If my neighbor vandalizes my property (which I own) it's not the responsibility of the BOD to take care of the matter. The only reason the police found your board at fault is because the vandalism took place on assn. owned property. 
I certainly hope this matter can be resolved without further incidents of vandalism, harrassmnent, etc. It's sad when you cannot enjoy peace in your own home.

posted @ Thursday, April 18, 2013 8:43 AM by mary

Putting security cameras in common "public" areas of a condo community is a great way to detour an crime. It's always safe to have a convo with the owners association to go over the benefits.

posted @ Sunday, May 26, 2013 11:08 AM by Security Cameras Dallas

I have mixed feeling on this subject and I'm starting to get more inclined toward Privacy Rights than being privately surveyed by my neighbor. We did have a problem with an attempted break in - we knew the source and they have now moved away. My Dog actually caught more than any camera. Because of her I got descriptions and license plate numbers. Since, my neighbor installed several cameras inside his condo , but recording Common Areas , including my back yard and the common parking lot. Every time I come and Go I see his camera on - recording. We don't have any CCR's on this since this is the 1st encounter with an Owner installing a camera. On the flip side - what if an Owner could supply unsavory people with your schedule and they would know when to break in to your Condo? What if any Owner was tracking every coming and going you were doing? with or without a camera - creepy. Addressing the dispute between Owners - I also have run into that too - we did have it on record to agree to a basketball hoop being allowed. If Owners were in a single home neighborhood they'd have to work things out too or have police support. Sorry to hear about truly horrible acts to property - sounds like the police are pushing off responsibility. I'd check with a Lawyer. This forum has given rise for me to address the private surveillance. Thanks.

posted @ Wednesday, October 23, 2013 1:07 AM by Susan


posted @ Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:55 AM by GANG STALKING

Further update on my previous comment. Now, after reading many of the comments as well, feeling we need an independent security set up if that is desired. The Owner with the camera has become very hostile and is using it to abuse my guests - having them towed even if only parked there minutes before we can run out and have them move spaces. He has openly threatened me and now all my comings and goings are monitored by him - do stalking laws apply to this? We are small HOA and 2 buildings the other building owners at least ask permission for any common area alteration. Not my 2 neighbors! One installed a 10 foot fence on one side blocking that access - now 'camera freak' owner has just barricaded my only other way out from my back door. This IS against our CCR's and just says try and stop me! No other Owner will help and since I'm basically 'the Board' by default I don't know what to do. I'm ready to dump my Condo I've almost paid for I'm so distressed. Sad it's a nice Condo but I can't take the constant surveillance on his part - he also has cameras out in back which only record me. He also installed super sensitive outdoor lights that blast on when I'm in my own area of my back yard. I appreciate the comments on the BOD having authority, but in my case , no one cares. This Owner also tag reams with the '10 ft fence' Owner - that Owner blocked my parking space recently and refused to move as he was talking to 'the 'camera' owner. Too bad there isn't bad neighbor laws.

posted @ Friday, June 06, 2014 10:39 PM by Susan

First, if this owner has openly threatened to physically harm and you have a witness you can file a restraining order against him because he threatened to harm you and it's causing you emotional distressed you . Then, have a sheriff or marshall deliver the restraining order papers to person . with the posted court date on the front page And/or this looks like a civil case court. You need to take camcorder shots or record from your cell phone when1. Outdoor lights come on 2. Photo or video of 10 ft Fence Owner, Prior to your civil lawsuit against the owner make sure you send him a certified letter with the return green card from the post office, make the same letter with a certificate of mailing to this owner, stating the reasons you are 
suing him in a court of law. File a police report and submit pictures with the report or call the police to come out and have a talk with your neighbor about the sign blocking your parking space. Whatever process you choose make sure you bring your evidence to court that day. Good luck 

posted @ Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:28 AM by Gloria

I think that it would definitely be a good idea to check for laws to make sure that you are not breaking any laws. I would think that it is a good idea to put up security cameras, but it might be best to check with the Board. Then you can clarify to make sure that you are putting the cameras up in areas that are allowed. I would just make sure that you get permission to put them up just to be sure! http://alarm-reviews.net/adt-home-security-review/

posted @ Wednesday, January 21, 2015 2:31 PM by Skylar Mitchell

Resoponsibility for common areas rests entirely with the Board Of Directors.Both your by laws and your state's Condominium Act support that. Anythingthing else on this subject is immaterial.The Board has the legal right and power to demand removal of anything that is added to the common area and in fact coulsd even impose fines for violations

posted @ Wednesday, January 21, 2015 5:30 PM by Scott Adler

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