Vacation Rental Owner Sued For Exterior Only Surveillance System?

Can a vacation rental owner get sued by guests staying there if he installs an exterior only camera system? The system would monitor exterior doors and driveway. I am looking for any articls on the subject.

Thanks in advance


Sued for privacy violation? Sued for failing to provide enough security by not having cameras indoors as well? Please clarify.

The vacation rental owner is worried about being sued by clients/renters for invasion of privacy.

What country are you in? In the US, at least, I've never seen privacy be a concern / consideration for external cameras. In Europe or Commonwealth countries could be a little trickier.

Hawaii, which is almost in the USA :)

Oh that's right! Maui!

I think it's fine, at least with regards to a lawsuit from the renter.

I would recommend making the camera low profile (minidome, etc.), if only to minimize the overtness and uncomfortableness a rare renter might have.

The challenge is that neither you nor I are lawyers so if the owner really wants official legal guidance, he should get it from his own.

Btw, does the camera look out towards any unfriendly neighbors? Because that could be a practical problem, e.g., Can I Point A CCTV Camera At My Neighbors Hot Tub?

It's worth noting that he's proactively asking you, not just casually, but even to the extent of researching articles, before installing. A little like requesting a written opinion of you, no? Perhaps he's had an incident that has made him this cautious.

Here would be a cynic's questions:

  1. Since the cameras are outside and monitoring doorways into the structure, then it's seems likely that they are pointed at the house itself? Yes/No?
  2. Of the cameras pointing at the house, are the FOV's as tight as they can be?
  3. Of the cameras that might have views into the living spaces of the dwelling, do you plan on using privacy masks where a renter would have a reasonable expectation of privacy?
  4. Are you planning to or have you been asked to provide any mechanical PTZ type cameras?
  5. Are you planning to or have you been asked to provide cameras with the ability to record audio?

If 3,4,5 are answered Yes, No, No then that should be the end of it.

If 4, PTZ, is Yes, is it by customer request or your suggestion? How necessary is it?

If 5, audio is Yes, then that could be tricky, though if correct signage is in place outside, with a renter's agreement rider/waiver, as well as a rudimentary on-site test to insure Audio FOV is not invasive, then it should be ok, though I'm a not lawyer.

Marty may have some insight here (he's not a lawyer either, but is pretty close ;)

  • Of the cameras pointing at the house, are the FOV's as tight as they can be?
  • Of the cameras that might have views into the living spaces of the dwelling, do you plan on using privacy masks where a renter would have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

These considerations are simply not relevant to (the lack of) privacy laws in the US.

These considerations are simply not relevant to (the lack of) privacy laws in the US.

Do you agree with this statement?

"It is not legal to record someone in the U.S. when they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without a court order"

If you disagree, indicate when it is legal. If you agree, indicate whether you think someone would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a hotel room? Only when the curtains are drawn? Meaning someone can come up to your window and take video of you inside the room?

So if a carelessly pointed camera could illegally record someone, why is it not 'relevant' to suggest use of a privacy mask to prevent it?

From the vaults:

His neighbors say the camera could see common areas of his subdivision, but also into people’s homes. Neighbors were “annoyed and disturbed because they felt their private activities were being watched,” according to court documents. The Spurs Ranch Owner’s Association in American Canyon, California and neighbors filed a complaint against Toler which was dismissed after they came to a settlement agreement. In a nine-hour meeting on June 22, 2009, the parties agreed that Toler’s camera would be “mechanically restricted and shielded so that it views only the front gate portion of [Toler's] property and cannot view any of the neighbors' residence [sic]." The agreement gave him 30 days to fix the problem.

Thanks for the input. I found a web page that me be of interest to others in this situation.

I will have the customer consult his lawyer, and design a system with a renters "expectation of privacy" in mind.