Security Camera! The Legal side of issue

Surveillance Issue Question

People can often be reluctant to install surveillance system because they think it increases liability. From our experience, a security camera system decreases liability since the owner of a location is taking steps to provide a secure environment.

But if the surveillance system is not 24/7 monitored, does this give the occupant a false sense of security? did you ever heard a situation where an owner is liable for cameras that are not monitored live? And does an owner legally have to post signs stating area has surveillance cameras and/or is being recorded?

Answer

The issue of security camera installation continues to challenge property owners and security installer because there is so little precedent in this subject. There are, however, some principals of law which can be applied. One is that property owners do owe their tenants on the property some degree of reasonable protection. The level of duty has many variables.

A landlord of a residential property has a duty to provide reasonable security when the property is in a high crime area and that tenants can be at risk. Also, there are laws that affect the landlord’s responsibility to provide some level of protection, such as door locks and intercom systems, fire protection/detection is another level of security and safety which is generally required.

surveillance system, however, is rarely required by law. Now days it is more require by insurance companies. More often video surveillance is installed by property owners as a measure to reduce damages or to record the damages for police investigation after the fact.

When you decide to install surveillance system you would be wise to make it clear what cameras or other security is designed to do or detect. Signs just as conspicuous as the cameras would be a good start. A notice to commercial and residential tenants that cameras have been installed but are not 24/7 supervised and are for the owners property protection would be a good clarification.