Security Cameras in HOAs and Condos

Sometimes people feel the need for security cameras because of things happening around the development. Sometimes people put them up just for spite.  Besides security issues, there are privacy issues that arise as well.


Here is an email that I received pointing out some of the problems, and also my comments below.


“Last year my next door neighbor attached a security camera above his front door facing my front door and window. I contacted the HOA manager 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. Now the same resident has attached a camera lens to his front window which faces my front window which is about 6 feet from his.


I feel there is a complete violation of privacy since now he can see when I come and go and who my visitors are…not to mention 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. “


I have to agree that installing a security camera focused directly on a neighbor’s front door or window is a breach of privacy and would qualify as a nuisance under most CC&Rs. A nuisance is some action or situation created that prevents someone from fully enjoying their property, and violates their privacy, to the extent it is reasonable to expect privacy in a condo development where the units are close in proximity to each other.


If someone wants a security camera to see who is at their front door or window, I am sure there is a way a camera could be installed on the building that so it would be pointed toward the front door of the person who wants the security. Pointing it toward another unit indicates more of a desire to know what goes on in or at their unit.


And there should be architectural restrictions that come into play here too. Residents cannot install items on the exterior of their units without architectural approval.  Through the architectural review processes it would also probably come to light whether there was actually some justifiable need for the cameras, or the owner who was putting them up was doing it for the wrong reasons. The architectural process is the opportunity to apply for approval, and describe the change you want to make.


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