I'm considering installing a "nanny cam" in a common area in my apt to monitor things since I'd like to be able to rent my space when I'm not there sometimes.
The camera would cover the living room, kitchen and apt exit, not the bedroom or bathroom. It appears to be legal in NYC.
My question is, should I inform guests that the apt is monitored? I was thinking that if they knew that, it would deter theft, parties, etc and I just wouldn't have to worry. Where as if they didn't know, they could still steal but I would have a record of it. But I'd prefer to just prevent it upfront.
First off, it is a horrible idea to put cameras anywhere inside the house. I would never in a million years stay in a place I found had cameras. Just the idea of someone watching you living in your temporary home is super-creepy. And if I ever caught someone filming me in a rental house/apartment without consent and prior notice... let's just say it would cause more trouble for them than any of their TVs or night-tables could be worth. Doesn't matter if it's a hall, living room, or common area - people have all sorts of habits they'd rather the world not know about. And if privacy is assumed, it should be private. If not, LET THEM KNOW!
Cameras on outside exits would be fine. Maybe even the outside of windows, but not with a view inside.
If you are allowed to and are going to put some cameras inside, PLEASE let them know on the advertizement. Not the night of - I mean on your advertizement page with the room numbers and amenities. First of all, letting them know already filters out most people with nefarious intentions. It also releases you from a lot of trouble if they find it out later - cause they agreed to stay already knowing. And finally, it's a risk for them staying in a strange house as well - the host could steal their stuff during the day, steal their identification info, or film them walking around the house naked.
Whatever the case, you want your guests to trust you and you want to be able to trust them. The best way to do this is by letting them know what's going on.
If you're paranoid, maybe let them know ahead of time that you need a copy of their ID and are willing to offer yours.
If I found a hidden camera inside the private space of the residence, that was not disclosed, I would absolutely sue the host and Airbnb as well as charge the host with whatever I could in their respctive state.
This is a total invasion of privacy and this is illegal in many states. The owner could possibly be charged with secret peeping among other types of charges. If you videod your guests having sex without their knowledge or videoed a naked child you could be charged in some states with sex offenses and possibly be listed on a sex offense registry. I am not sure why a host would open themselves up to such liabilities.
Many people do not realize that once they list their properties on Airbnb that they are essentially in the same business as a hotel. You are responisble for your space as well as the safety and wellbeing of your guests to the extent of your respective state and Federal laws. Unless you are set up as a business, private individuals are opening themselves up to a lot of liability.
@Megan There is a tech solution I saw recently that might be of interest to you also.
It’s called the Party Squasher. It monitors the WiFi and cell activity in the room and it can actually give you a count of the number of devices, phones and tablets that are active in your rental. It also sends you an alert if the number of detected devices exceeds your preset limit. So if all of a sudden you detect 15-20 devices in your rental...you can act on it. It looks pretty simple to hook up, just plug and play. It also sends an alert if it’s disconnected. This is tops on my list of new tech.
I just saw a most disturbing video story this morning about a couple finding hidden cameras in the smoke detector. My husband and I rented a property for the weekend last month, and noticied a camera sitting on top of the armoire in the living room. The host seemed to text me (several times) right after we would return to the property. I was sickened by the camera, but my husband turned it upside down and yet we still felt we were being watched. The listing mentions nothing of the camera. When I "reviewed" the property, I certainly did mention it and he responded saying that it is turned off during rental season. I am wondering if it is my obligation now to report this so this does not happen to future unsuspecting guests.
You should report it. It is against AirBnB policy not to mention the presence of a camera in a listing.
I am not sure what you have decided, but here is my opinion:
All of this hidden camera idea seems downgrading to Airbnb. The benefit of using Airbnb over hotels is that you make yourself at home while you are in a remote location. If they are not being monitored at their home, they would not feel comfortable being monitored by you.
Yes, i think you should let your guest know if you are going to do this they should know if they want to rent from you, there was a report from CBS that the hidden cameras are in bedrooms and in bathrooms, if you must install cameras you must simple must let those people you are renting out to know because it is an invasion of privacy to film people in their bedrooms and bathrooms thoses are private areas and your renter should be respected if they do not wish to rent from you because you are wanting to film them in their private space.
Blanca in NJ
I wish there was a 360 degree camera set to snap at the posted check in and check out times, that records the condition of the listing and emails it to Airbnb.
Would leave no room for argument for theft or damage.