Installing a hidden camera

in
New York, NY
Level 1
107,918 Views

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. 

26 Replies

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Union City, NJ
Level 10

You absolutely must disclose any hidden camera to guests.   There is no way around it.   You can be as clear in your description as you are here in your disclosure.   You'll see that there are already some bad press mentions about hosts having hidden cameras, and guests finding them.

 

I personally think that it's a bad idea, but I do have cameras outside.  I actually just installed a Ring doorbell ( can be mounted witout wires outside apartment door) so that you can track the comings/goings of your guests from outside the private space.  So in theory you'd be abloe to see if someone walked away with your tv set, but you woudn't see if someone took something and put it in their luggage.

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Edmonton, Canada
Level 10

Hi @Megan5,

 

I agree with everything @Maria-Lurdes0 has stated.  I would also add that there is currently a lawsuit (http://www.theverge.com/2015/12/16/10318300/airbnb-hidden-camera-lawsuit-california) happening between a guest and host as the host did not let the guest know there was a camera.  Just because it is not in the bathroom or bedroom, there are many issues I would have as a renter.  Several people walk around naked or may have intimate relationships outside of the bedroom.  There are also privacy issues as you could listen in on conversations which really are no business of a host.  

 

I have several cameras outside my house which were installed before Airbnb but if I knew I was booking a listing with cameras inside, hidden or not, I would not choose to book that listing.  I believe if you are going to install a camera inside your listing, you should make it VERY CLEAR in your listing.

 

This has been discussed before and I know there are verying positions on it.  What do other hosts think?

 

Dave

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
New York, NY
Level 1

@Dave-and-Deb0 @Maria-Lurdes0

Thank you both for the input.

I certainly don't want to deter guests from staying so I think the camera outside in the hall is a good idea. That way at least I'll know they're not bringing strangers in or emptying out my flat.

Cheers!

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Union City, NJ
Level 10

Hey @Megan5  in case it helps, here's the language I use about the outside cameras: This building, and many of the buildings on the street have exterior surveillance cameras.

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Megan5 I would not for a milli-second consider installing a camera inside the hosted space! I could not think of a more invasive way to intrude on a guests privacy (bar sitting in an armchair in the corner)!

Megan, there has to be a certain element of trust attached to hosting! Heavens above, I have a full on library, and some quite highly priced artwork in my studio plus a lot of personal things but, it adds enormously to the homely comfortable ambience of the space.

I even have hanging on one of the walls the one and only picture of my mother, taken in 1932...she was a beautiful woman but never thought it of herself and systematically destroyed every other photo she found! It's a beautiful personal touch, it makes guests feel they really are welcome...and, after all, who is going to steal a photo for goodness sake!!@!

 

Somebody once said to me on looking through the cottage..."Don't put anything in there that you aren't prepared to loose"! But, hell, you can't treat people like that.....and I have only ever lost one thing.... a couple of books a 'Christian' couple, here for some new church dedication in the area borrowed, and didn't return! 

There are remedies with Airbnb if theft happens and, if you are concerned about theft set up a suitable stratergy with Airbnb. In a shared facility it's always a good idea to have a couple of locked cupboards that you put things into that are not for the guests use....It can be a cupboard in the kitchen, or the Linen press or similar. At least this sets the ground rules without making a big deal of it.

Megan...camera....definitely not!!!!   Cheers....Rob

Re: Installing a hidden camera

Level 3

By chance, do you also own the Ring Stick Up Cam? I'd like to if it covers the additional ground and how it works with other Ring products.

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
New York, NY
Level 2

I have a camera in my main area and I disclose it to my guests. I have been told that it makes my guests feel safer. I have more than one room that I airbnb and I am also in NYC, meaning I actually live in my listing. Just having a camera outside of my apartment is not enough because I've seen guests try other guests doors including my own. They could easily put stolen items in their own room and leave unsuspected days later. 

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Edmonton, Canada
Level 10

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Miami, FL
Level 10

Airbnb and laws in most location require the disclosure of cameras. We have cameras to monitor entry ways and common areas. They are mentioned in our listing, and we let guests know when they check in. If you have secret cameras, you are just going to make Airbnb sites suspect for guests.

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Omaha, NE
Level 1

Yea... you should just make a list of what is in the place.  Price it for your personal info and put a security deposit similar to it or at least for things people might actually want to take...

I personally search, with my wife, every place we go to.  We move picture frames, look under beds, light fixtures, behind and around everything that looks or doesn't look movable.  Maybe a little bit paranoid but knowing where there aren't camera's is worth the time we think.  If we ever found a camera...there'd be some big time **bleep** storm going down.

I'm not really leaving this comment for you so much as anyone else that comes across this.  I'm sure we're not the only ones who do this.  And whoever does it is probably in deep $h1t when they have a guest who looks.

I'd be ok with a camera outside.  Just say it's there.  Nobody likes being greeted to a camera free apartment like a camera looking at their door that wasn't spoken of.  You could sell it as a feature Up Front if you word it right.  "Front door monitored 24/7" ...but then you'd want to have someone looking over it periodically and probably save the recordings.  If anything of the guests is stolen, they're going to want Your video to find out who, otherwise they might just blame you because you conveniently don't have the recording of their front door when you said it was secure.  

We like places with cctv and guards on duty.  But that's not everywhere.  Anyway, think it through.  The part where everything goes right....and if everything goes wrong.  Security deposit and no security is easiest, cheapest and safest for you (i would assume..).

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Palmyra, VA
Level 4

My inside cameras are installed for the purpose of checking on my animals when I am away from home, so only using outside cameras isn't really an option for me. I disclosed it in my listing, noted that the cameras are only used for that purpose, that I respect my guests' privacy, and they will be turned off or removed if anyone is to be sleeping in one of the common areas... Hopefully people still come =(

Re: Installing a hidden camera

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

OMG - is your post for real 🙂

 

Life is much to short to be searching a property from top to bottom when you are on holiday on the vague off chance their could be a hidden camera.

 

Maybe it's a US thing?

 

I don't know anyone here who has CCTV in their homes or rentals.

 

Nor do the majority of places here have guards on duty or CCTV.

Re: Installing a hidden camera

Level 1

I think it's a bad idea. 

 

They are mentioned in our listing, and we let guests know when they check in. If you have secret cameras, you are just going to make Airbnb sites suspect for guests.

I have several this cameras outside my house which were installed before Airbnb but if I knew I was booking a listing with cameras inside, hidden or not, I would not choose to book that listing.  I believe if you are going to install a camera inside your listing, you should make it VERY CLEAR in your listing.

 

 

Re: Installing a hidden camera

Level 1

I have never before used airbnb and the possibility of cameras is the only reason why...

 

Whenever we travel abroad, we typically hire a suite or the more spacious and private acommodation when available at the hotel/resort that we are visiting. The reason for this is simply that I like to have enough space to be comfortable but also, if my wife wants to lay by the pool and sunbath without much clothes, she should be able to, given that we have paid for the entire space and nobody else is around. Also, I am sure it is not just my wife but getting ready to go out is not something she likes to rush so during that time, she may decide to walk through the hallway to the kitchen to get a drink. Should she have to put on clothes simply because she is going to walk past a camera in the hallway? I dont want it to sound like we are naked all the time as it is not the case but when you are on vacation and in your private space, you should be able to walk around as if you were in your own home without fear of your naked body being captured on video. 

My thoughts on the matter are that cameras should be forbidden inside of an airbnb listing. If somebody has a fear that their possesions may be stolen or damaged then they should think again if renting their property in this way is really for them or they should tell airbnb that they are not confifdent in their checks/vetting, security deposits or policies.

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