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Should Our HOA Install Surveillance Cameras?

January 20, 2020

Home security systemIs your homeowners’ association (HOA) considering ways to enhance security measures? Residential security cameras greatly reduce the risk for break-ins, vandalism, and other crimes, and can capture immediate and incontestable evidence should one occur.

Before installing video surveillance, however, HOA board members and residents must answer a variety of questions having to do with HOA regulations. Are there any areas where security cameras are not allowed? Who has access to the recordings? Can residents install their own cameras?

Here is a quick guide to installing surveillance cameras with your HOA:

Legal requirements and limitations

Associations are allowed to install residential security cameras in common areas of their complex or gated community, such as pools, clubhouses, or parking lots—with the exception of areas that residents would expect privacy, like a changing room or shared bathroom. Although in many cases you are not strictly required to provide notice that a camera is in use, making cameras well-known is important to deterring crimes and will likely make residents feel more at ease.

Reactions from residents

In general, most residents will applaud the increased security measures, which not only enhances their safety and that of their families but also increases the value of their property. However, it is possible you may have a homeowner or two who will raise privacy issues or other objections. The best way to avoid negative reactions is to be transparent from the outset about the plan to install security cameras. Before the cameras are actually put in place, explain to residents why they are being installed, where they will be positioned, and how they will be used.

In your HOA newsletter or announcement, you should include the following information:

  • Statistics on how security cameras increase safety, reduce crimes, provide solid evidence should a crime occur, and increases the overall value of the HOA and its properties.
  • Where the cameras will be installed, how they will be used, and who will have access to footage.
  • Explain that the cameras do not impact HOA liability issues should a crime occur. This is important to avoid potential lawsuits.

Restricting access to camera footage

Rules should be set in place prior to installation regarding who has access to video footage and how residents’ requests for footage will be handled. In general, it is recommended to assign access to only a small number of people, or better yet, to hire a third-party monitoring team and only release video feed to the police or to residents who can demonstrate a reasonable need or proper legal documents.

Residents installing their own cameras

Whether or not residents are allowed to install their own cameras depends on the rules and regulations of the HOA. While cameras inside the home shouldn’t cause any issue, any cameras located on or facing the exterior of the house or other common areas could be in violation of HOA regulations. If you want to install cameras on your home, it is best to review your HOA paperwork and consult with a lawyer first.

Best surveillance cameras for an HOA

If your HOA is thinking about installing security cameras, call the experts at Maryland Security Professionals. Or former police officers and other security professionals will work with you to design a customized security system that will match the needs and budget of your HOA. Schedule a free consultation today.

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