Does my condominium want safety cameras?


Most huge, city condominium buildings have safety cameras put in in frequent areas akin to lobbies and elevators. These cameras are typically used to assist keep security and resolve crimes. Surveillance cameras could be a wonderful safety software for condominium communities. They’re comparatively inexpensive, and much more efficient when utilized in mixture with different safety measures. Nevertheless, not each condominium member is on board with safety cameras. Sustaining folks’s privateness whereas implementing safety measures is a little bit of a balancing act.

In case your affiliation is contemplating putting in cameras within the condominium constructing, we encourage you to learn this text to get extra details about the professionals and cons of safety cameras.


Are safety cameras efficient?

Sure, cameras could be efficient when they’re put in appropriately and monitored commonly. Nevertheless, board members should needless to say cameras are a defensive safety software. They could deter some criminals from stealing bikes or smashing a window, however they’ll’t actively cease somebody from breaking a rule or regulation.

Consultants say that cameras shouldn’t be used as an offensive software to watch the actions of residents (besides the place such actions compromise the security and safety of the constructing).

To ensure that cameras to actually serve their goal, the condominium may even want to rent somebody to watch the cameras. If the guard or individual monitoring the footage sees one thing going down, they’ll then take motion to cease the felony or repair the problem.


What goal will the safety cameras serve?

Rental boards will need to have a transparent and legitimate cause why the cameras needs to be put in. Having clear tips on the aim of safety cameras will go a good distance in the direction of making certain that the units utilized in an moral and authorized method. So, it’s most likely not sufficient to say the constructing wants cameras to boost safety. But when the condominium has a theft subject within the underground car parking zone, then cameras could possibly be a precious software to assist the affiliation cease this downside. 

Authorized circumstances out of British Columbia have raised the problem about cameras getting used for functions aside from safety. There was as soon as occasion the place a strata (just like a condominium) levied $40,000 in fines in a single month attributable to breaches of facility guidelines. Safety cameras had been getting used to trace the actions of the residents as a substitute of improve safety.  $200 fines had been distributed issues like driving away earlier than the gate was closed, or improper disposal of rubbish. The residents of this constructing made a robust case that these cameras had been getting used inappropriately.


Learn up on surveillance cameras legal guidelines

There could also be native, state, or federal legal guidelines that may affect how and the place the board can set up cameras. The commonly accepted regulation is that each resident has a proper to an inexpensive expectation of privateness. This time period is obscure, however it prevents condos from doing issues positioning a digicam in entrance of somebody’s doorway.

The board may even must spend a while trying by way of their governing paperwork for any guidelines or laws concerning digicam use. These paperwork might inform what’s or isn’t potential.


The affiliation will want a privateness and surveillance coverage 

Some governing paperwork could also be completely silent on digicam surveillance insurance policies and guidelines. Others may need extra concrete instructions. Both method, in case you are planning to put in cameras in frequent areas, the affiliation will want a privateness and surveillance coverage. The coverage supplies tips for entry to, and retention of video footage.

This coverage addresses issues like:

    The rationale and goal of the camerasThe location of every digicam put in within the condominium buildingUnder what circumstances footage will likely be reviewed, and who is permitted to view itWhat occurs if a resident asks to see footageHow footage will likely be archived, and the way lengthy information will likely be saved earlier than they’re deletedHow residents will likely be notified of modifications or expansions to the prevailing safety digicam system or coverage

Many condominiums wrestle with whether or not they need to set up cameras close to swimming pools or health areas. These areas are frequent components, and residents have an inexpensive understanding that these areas usually are not personal. Nevertheless, some board members don’t suppose that these areas needs to be monitored. It’s as much as the board to make this name, however having an built-in method to condominium safety might get rid of the necessity to have cameras in these areas with out leaving them susceptible.

Residents have to be sufficiently warned concerning the areas that will likely be beneath video surveillance. It’s strongly inspired that apparent warning indicators even be put in within the areas are beneath video surveillance. Residents ought to obtain a bodily or digital copy of the coverage, and if the neighborhood has entry to a digital doc library, essentially the most present model of the coverage needs to be saved right here too.


Cameras can’t be put in secretly (at the least not with out a warrant)

Maybe the affiliation is having bother with tenants who’re utilizing their models to promote unlawful objects. The board would nonetheless not be at liberty to secretly set up cameras anyplace within the constructing, even when it could assist them accumulate proof.

This was made abundantly clear after an identical incident occurred in Ontario. In 2019, a court docket case confirmed that condominium boards didn’t have the authority to permit cops to put in hidden cameras within the hallways of a condominium constructing with out a warrant. A number of essential factors emerged within the ruling, however now there isn’t a confusion about hidden safety cameras.  

The set up of hidden cameras isn’t one thing that condominium residents would moderately count on the board to do (or enable). Steady surveillance over an prolonged time period additionally reveals quite a lot of private details about suspects and different residents who usually are not part of an investigation. On this case, the cameras captured 4 months of the comings and goings of residents who weren’t the goal of the surveillance. One of many cameras additionally had partial sightline into the unit of a lady who was not a goal of the surveillance when her door was open.

Residents have a proper to count on an inexpensive quantity of privateness of their condominium buildings, and a decide dominated that police infringed upon that proper after they put hidden cameras within the condominium’s hallway.

If police come to you with a request to put in hidden cameras for the aim of investigation, allow them to know that they can not do this with out a warrant. You may as well seek the advice of together with your legal professional for extra steerage.  


Recording audio could also be thought of a felony offence

There’s a superb cause why most surveillance footage doesn’t have audio.

Recording sounds and conversations could also be thought of a felony offence, and will by no means be captured with out authorized consent. Board members who file communications are topic to potential legal responsibility and claims for damages from anybody recorded with out first giving their consent.



When planning and budgeting on your safety cameras, needless to say there could be ongoing bills. Along with the tools and set up, the board may even need to maintain these recurring prices in thoughts: 

    Video storageMaintenanceUpgrading {hardware} and software program



Not each condominium neighborhood wants safety cameras, however most individuals would say that they do really feel safer with cameras in frequent areas. Associations must decide how a lot worth safety cameras might add to the condominium constructing, and what dangers and prices are concerned with putting in the safety tools.