Guidelines for Security Cameras in Your Association
Are you looking for an added level of security for your association? Security cameras are a great way to ensure that your association stays safe and protected. Security cameras can monitor behavior, help stop theft, and make your residents feel safe. Before installing security cameras, it’s important to know these COA and HOA security camera guidelines!
Your Top Priority: Residents’ Satisfaction
When you make the decision to install security cameras, it’s important to prioritize your residents’ satisfaction. Some residents in your community may feel uncomfortable with the presence of security cameras. It’s important that you assure your residents that security cameras are being placed with their safety and privacy in mind. It’s also important that you follow all laws and guidelines and keep your residents up to date and informed on your security camera decisions and placements.
Security Camera Guidelines
When Should You Decide to Place Security Cameras?
Making the decision of when to place security cameras can be tricky. If you have run into issues with theft, vandalism, destruction of property, or other safety concerns, it’s reasonable to want to place security cameras. Security cameras, however, should never obstruct privacy.
When you decide to place security cameras, you must communicate this decision to your community. Your community needs to be made aware that your decision is based entirely on maintaining residents’ safety and community security. You should assure them that you will be maintaining privacy at all times.
Where Can You Put Security Cameras?
Security camera laws dictate that an association should never place cameras in a location that will compromise residents’ privacy. You may only place security cameras in common areas of the community. It’s a good idea to place cameras in spaces such as:
- Many people pass through the lobby each day and people don’t necessarily expect it to be private, so it is a natural choice for a camera location that improves the security of your community.
- Community pools. Only community members should have access to community pools. To stop any outsiders, vandalism, or theft, you may place cameras in the entrances or public spaces of community pools.
- Community gates and entrances. In order to monitor who is entering your community, and to prevent any unwanted visitors or theft, you may monitor community gates or entrances.
Your space must also remain well-kept and aesthetically pleasing. Security cameras are often a clunky, unappealing addition to any area. It’s important that you place your security cameras properly so that they do not detract from your community’s appearance. To help, you could choose unobtrusive cameras that don’t stick out like a sore thumb.
What Is Legal in Your Area?
HOA security camera guidelines must follow federal, state, and local laws regarding privacy. You must also follow your own written governing documents. If your documents explicitly state that you will not place security cameras, you cannot place any. You should examine all written laws before placing security cameras.
You must follow security camera laws at all times. It is illegal in any way to compromise your residents’ privacy and safety. This includes:
- Do not place security cameras in private areas. This includes bathrooms, facing the inside of a resident’s home, on private property, or in a locker room. This is a direct violation of resident privacy.
- Do not place security cameras without acknowledgement from your community and association board members. Your residents do not need to approve your decision, but they must be made aware of it.
- Do not use audio surveillance. Audio surveillance is illegal without the consent of the individuals who are involved in the footage.
- Do not tamper or destroy footage before your policy’s time period. Your HOA or COA must have written documentation stating when you will destroy security camera footage. Do not ever tamper with footage.
- Do not place security cameras without having governing documentation written and published.
What Should Be in Your Policy?
Your association board must create and publish governing documents regarding your security cameras. These documents must clearly state guidelines and policies for security cameras, and must be communicated to your residents effectively. For legality purposes, your policy should include:
- Placement rules and regulations. You need to outline your placement rules exactly. Make your residents aware that you will not be placing security cameras in private areas, including bathrooms, locker rooms, or peering inside residents’ homes. Outline your rules for maintaining beauty and aesthetics as well.
- Rules for viewing footage. This includes who will regularly view and monitor the security camera footage, how often the footage will be reviewed, and who will have access to this footage. This is necessary to maintain security and safety in your association.
- Footage destruction. Decide how often you will be destroying your security camera footage. For some states and areas, this has already been decided for you by local or state laws. If this is not already decided for you, destroying the footage at the end of every month is a good idea.
Can a Resident Deny Security Camera Placement?
Unless you have stated in your governing documents that you will not place security cameras, your association has full rights to place security cameras in public spaces. Residents cannot deny you the right to place security cameras on public community property, as long as you have written guidelines dictating security camera procedures.
On the other hand, residents can deny security cameras being placed on private property or if they feel their privacy is being violated. Your residents may want to install security cameras on their own property, as well. Your residents are allowed to install security cameras on their private property, as long as they are also not compromising anyone else’s privacy.
Keep Your Association Safe and Happy
While security cameras are a great way to protect your community from vandals, they do not do a great job of protecting your budget from non-paying owners. Luckily, LM Funding is here to be your financial security cameras. We review association delinquency reports every month to make sure everyone is paying their fair share. When we see a delinquency occur, we take swift action by alerting the board and hiring a law firm. You can sleep easy at night know security cameras and LM Funding are on the job!