So your neighbor has a new surveillance system and you are concerned with the question, can my neighbor point a security camera at my property?
This is a very common question which bothers people whose neighbors have security cameras. And the answer may vary according to the place you live.
The security camera legality
We must know the legality of such actions so we can protect our rights. However, how can we find answers to this question?
All of us want to secure our homes and keep them safe as best as we can. Installing a home security camera system is one security solution lots of people opt for.
However, before setting up cameras to watch over your property, you must think about your neighbors and take them into consideration.
Sadly, a lot of people do not care about their neighbors at all. Proof of that is the many complaints that we see posted on social media and local community forums.
Among the most frequently asked is about what they should do with their neighbor’s security camera. Because of questions regarding the security cameras of the neighbors, this simply shows that other people are bothered by it.
The usual feeling that these complainants have is probably discomfort. They are uncomfortable with the feeling that “maybe” their neighbors are spying on them.
The question of trust then crops up. Either their neighbors do not trust them, or they do not trust the neighbors because they might be planning something against them, hence the surveillance.
When is it legal to have a security camera pointed at a neighbor's house?
There are some situations where your neighbor’s security camera is legal. As mentioned above, it depends on the state or country you are residing in.
There are states where the recording of videos of such security cameras is allowed, provided it is on the neighbor’s property.
Other states do allow videos but audio recording is not allowed. Still, in some states, both video and audio recordings are not allowed.
However, there are situations where it is legal when your neighbor installs a security camera outside his/her home as mentioned below.
Your Neighbor's Outdoor Security Camera Pointed at Your House Is Capturing a Wide Area
Being property owners, your neighbors have the right to install security cameras in and around their homes.
This is to prevent burglars from victimizing their home. Just as you have the right to install your outdoor security cameras.
Therefore if your neighbor installs an outdoor security camera pointed at your house, and of course capturing your front door and yard, you cannot file legal complaints against them.
In other words, you cannot sue them because you have no expectation of privacy on your front door and yard, or even your driveway, as it is located outdoors and exposed to everybody.
However, here is an important point to remember though. Video surveillance of outdoor home security cameras is allowed. However, in most states, audio recording is prohibited, unless consent is obtained from at least one side.
The Recorded Footage of Your Property from Your Neighbor's Security Cameras is Used Properly
Another thing to consider is how your neighbor deals with the footage of his security camera. It is considered legal for your neighbor to point a security camera at your house if it is for lawful purposes.
For instance, preventing or monitoring suspects in cases of package thefts. If this is so, then it is considered legal for your neighbor to point a security camera at your house.
When is Your Neighbor Pointing a Security Camera at Your House an Illegal activity?
Although generally, your neighbor pointing a security camera at your house is legal, there are instances when such acts are considered, illegal, too.
Your Neighbor's Security Camera is Pointed at Your House Where There is an Expectation of Privacy
Although your neighbor can record on your property, there are restrictions to it.
Yes, your neighbor can take or make recordings with a security camera pointed at your house. However, not in places where there is an expectation of privacy.
For instance, your bedrooms, bathroom, changing or dressing rooms, locker rooms, restrooms, and others.
The residence security camera laws state that, your neighbor might face legal issues if he points security cameras at areas where physical entry on the premises is needed to complete or realize such actions.
The Videos of Your Neighbor's Security Cameras Are Misused
When your neighbor’s security camera is pointed at your house, it is considered as illegal if that particular neighbor misuses the videos recorded on his security cameras.
For instance, your neighbor might be a pervert and has his security camera pointed at your bedrooms. Then your neighbor might be some high-tech peeping Tom. This is unacceptable, and of course, illegal.
There might even be cases where your neighbor posts video footage taken of your activities on the property on social media. This is also not legal as it is a form of invasion to your privacy.
In other words, any wrongful use or application, like spying on you, of your neighbor’s home security camera is, of course, not legal.
If you encounter such problems, the best thing for you to do is to seek the help of law enforcers and file appropriate charges against your neighbor.
How to Deal with Your Neighbor’s Security Camera Pointed at Your House
We usually get this uneasy, uncomfortable, nerve-wracking feeling when your neighbor has a security camera pointed in your house. Can we do something about it then? Of course, we can!
However, the use of illegal ways to jam the said security cameras is NOT recommended. It will not help. It will only make the situation worse.
In other words, instead of resolving the issue, you might add insult to injury.
If you continue reading, you will learn about how to deal with a situation where your neighbor’s security camera is pointed at your house.
Talk to your neighbor about the security camera
The first thing every educated and civilized individual should do is to talk to your neighbor politely.
Tell him about how you feel regarding his security camera pointing at your house.
But mind you, do it nicely. Inform your neighbor about how you feel with his security camera pointed at your house.
He might not even be aware that his action is causing some problems with his neighbors.
Politely ask him if he can change the angle of his security camera as its present angle is causing you some discomfort.
If you do not feel like confronting your neighbor about it as he seems to be grumpy and unapproachable, then you can find other ways to resolve the issue about his security camera pointed at your house.
Block your neighbor's camera view
You can try planting grown trees between your house and his security camera. Or you can build fences high enough to block the view of your neighbor’s security camera.
However, if, despite your efforts, your neighbor’s security camera pointed at your house still makes you feel uneasy and uncomfortable because he has invaded your privacy, then it would be best if you contacted the proper authorities and seek legal help.
This is your last recourse if talks fail and all other efforts to resolve this issue is to no avail.
Tips on What to Look for in a Security Camera if You are Planning to Install One
You might want to install a security camera outside your home.
However, you may have some questions about it. Like if you can point it at your neighbor’s house, too. Or if you can install outdoor security cameras because of bad neighbors.
Of course, you can install outdoor security cameras. That is your prerogative.
However, you must be aware of existing rules and laws before installing one.
This will avoid possible problems which will result in the installation of your security camera.
However, to help you with it, here are some useful tips which you should take to heart before installing an outdoor security camera.
- Avoid pointing your camera at your neighbor’s property where there is an expectation of privacy. You would not want that to happen to you, now, would you? I mean your privacy being invaded by other people’s security cameras.
- It would also be best to let your neighbor know that you are planning to install a security camera. This way, you can explain and make clear the reason why you want to install it.
- See to it that your security camera is properly installed.
- Be responsible. Make sure that the footage of your security camera is used for security reasons only. See to it that the videos are well protected and that they will not fall into the wrong hands.
- The information mentioned above regarding your neighbor’s security camera pointed at your house also applies to you if you install an outdoor security camera yourself.
After having read this article, and you still feel you need help regarding your neighbor’s security camera pointed at your house, talk to experts about this matter.
For instance law enforcers and lawyers who are well-informed and more knowledgeable about this issue.
If a neighbor points a security camera at your property the best way to solve the problem is by having a good conversation, or blocking the camera's view with something you can put at your property... that's the way to go.
Just in case those things don't solve your problem, look for an attorney in your area to check what are the local laws for this type of situation.
I hope you can have your problem solved.
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Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 15+ experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems.