Can Anyone Put up a Security Camera Anywhere in an HOA?

A reader asks me:

Last year my next door neighbor attached a security camera above his front door facing my front door and window. I contacted the HOA management company and said it was attached to common area and thought this was an invasion of privacy. A letter was sent to the resident and he removed the camera. A year later the same resident attached a camera lens to his front window which faces my front window. Our front doors are side by side and our front windows face each other and they are about 6 feet apart. I feel there is a complete violation of privacy since now he can see when I come and go and who my visitors are. I can no longer open my blinds/window because he would be able to see inside my unit of dining area and kitchen. This same neighbor keeps his front door partially open and if anyone comes to my door the majority of the time he will come to his door and stand there to listen in on my conversation. I know he is beyond nosy but, is it legal to use the security camera in this manner? There is no mention of security cameras in out CC&R’s or by-laws.

 

Wow, this seems like a strange scenario. And I agree that it goes beyond the bounds of reason and takes being nosey to a whole new level. On the other hand, I have not heard from the neighbor putting up the cameras so I do not know if it is for some kind of protection or whether there is some feasible reason for it (right or wrong).

 

My take on it is this. If the board won’t do anything to prevent “security” cameras from being positioned such that they are either a nuisance or invasion of property (such as set up to record what goes on inside someone else’s unit), then an owner also has recourse. Under California law an owner can enforce CC&Rs as equitable servitudes and most CC&Rs have a “nuisance clause” that says nuisances are prohibited. Some have language preventing invasions of privacy. And, there are laws that apply to everyone that prevent public nuisances and invasion of privacy. Anyone can file a small claims court complaint and ask for up to $10,000 in damages.

 

I am not an advocate of being unreasonable or going overboard, but getting served with a complaint for nuisance or a violation of privacy asking for a damages award will get the neighbor’s attention and may cause a change in conduct (hopefully less offensive and not moreso).

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