Being the owner of a rental property comes with many challenges. You’re not always sure if your tenants will pay their rent on time, if they’ll treat your investment property right, or if they will conduct illegal activities in your residence. While thorough tenant screening does a lot to reduce these risks, nothing is guaranteed. However, one concrete way to better protect your property from theft and vandalism is to install security cameras for your rental.
Contents of This Article:
- Can You Install Security Cameras for Your Rental?
- What About Audio Recording?
- Why Use Security Cameras?
- Protect Your Property With Professional Management
Many retail stores use security cameras on their properties as a way of protecting their business. And we always suggest you look at your rental property as a business. However, there is some growing concern from tenants over the presence of security cameras outside and inside your property.
Today, we’ll look at some of the most important things to consider before installing a security system for your rental property.
Can You Install Security Cameras for Your Rental?
In short, yes you can use security cameras for your rental property. However, this does not come without its limitations. For instance, you are not allowed to install a visual surveillance camera in private areas without a person’s consent. This may include places such as dressing rooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The same rules also apply to still shots captured via a camera.
In addition, you cannot use a security camera to spy on people inside private property. The only exception to this is if you’re using the area for business purposes. That said, you can legally install visible security cameras that monitor places such as your rental’s driveway, front and back doors, backyard areas, and garages. Any place considered a public place, where a reasonable expectation of privacy is not expected, can be monitored via video surveillance.
However, if you secretly record your tenants in any area, you may find yourself in some legal hot water. Not only does Baltimore law forbid recording anyone without their consent within a private residence, most tenants have a reasonable expectation of privacy while in the home they are leasing from you. As a result, most states have strict privacy laws in place to protect tenants from video surveillance within a property.
That’s why it is important to discuss surveillance laws with an experienced attorney before installing surveillance cameras inside your rental. In addition, you must discuss these things with your potential tenants before they sign a lease agreement with you. Although you may have sufficient justifications for wanting to install security cameras inside your rental home, outside security cameras should be enough to protect your rental property.
What About Audio Recording?
Many security cameras come with audio recording as well. However, most states have strict wiretapping laws in place preventing the secret audio recording of private conversations, such as the ones you would expect to take place within a rental property residence.
In addition, Baltimore County takes it one step further, and states that it is illegal to record conversations, regardless of where they occur, unless you have the consent of all involved parties.
Even if you decide to install security cameras on the outside of your rental property, which is legal to do, it is best you do so without capturing any audio.
Why Use Security Cameras?
There are plenty of benefits to using security cameras on your rental property, whether it is occupied or not.
Take a look at some of the best reasons why, despite the complex legalities you must familiarize yourself with, using a surveillance system is helpful:
- Monitor Nuisances- Loud parties, over-staying guests, and other disturbances on your property are easily caught on security camera footage. Since these activities can wreak havoc on your rental property business or breach the signed lease agreement, having proof it is happening can help protect you and your property.
- Unauthorized Maintenance Workers– There are plenty of stories floating around about suspicious maintenance workers spying on rentals so they can later burglarize them. If you use a property management company that has its own maintenance crew, there should be no other contractors entering your property without your consent. This is something video surveillance can capture as it happens.
- Vacancy Protection- When your property is vacant, it is vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Taking surveillance of your rental property can help deter or prosecute these activities. In addition, it helps reduce costs associated with vacant property issues like property damage, theft, or illegal use of the residence.
Protect Your Property With Professional Management
Altogether, using security cameras in your Baltimore rental property can be a good idea. If you are looking to add security cameras to your rental property, and need some help in dealing with the legal issues surrounding both visual and audio surveillance, enlist the help of Bay Management Group.
Our team of professionals has a wealth of knowledge and experience about all rental property housing laws, including those related to video surveillance. So, we can help ensure you are not breaking any laws with your security camera system.
We can also help protect your property in other ways. For instance, we conduct thorough tenant screening, perform routine inspections, and draft airtight lease agreements strictly outlining what is and what’s not allowed during your tenant’s stay.
Let us help you keep the peace of mind that your investment property is safe from things such as theft, vandalism, and structural damage so that you can enjoy the better parts of being a rental property owner.