Spy cameras in communal areas

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    Spy cameras in communal areas

    I was interested in this week's case concerning Ring door bells with cameras and audio. As a result of this, talking to a neighbour, I have learned that one of the tenants has installed a spy camera in the corner of the communal area, outside her flat.

    It has apparently been there a couple of years and I had no idea it was there.

    What would you do about it? Should she have informed us that it is there?

    Installation of the camera will require ICO registration by the owner if there is a recording device (which could be cloud storage) attached.

    If it's in your AST that the Tenant ask you before installation then yes they should have. You can write to request its removal but I guess not much else if they refuse.

    Most CCTV systems do have a way to block out certain areas so they cannot be seen, heard or recorded. Of course, the tenant could show this and then just change it when you've gone.

    Other than that, this is an issue between tenant and neighbour - which if it's been there 2 years then I can't see that the neighbours been that bothered before this week.

    My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


      We are all long leaseholders living in a block of nine flats. It is not the managing agent or freeholder who has put this camera up. It is one of the leaseholders.

      It may have been up two years but the point is that I, for one, didn't know it was there. She has been able to see and hear everything that has gone on in our quite large hallway and we had no idea that that was happening.

      If I'm outside then I know that anybody can see me. If I'm inside, with no doors open, I used to think I was on my own but I wasn't. If I stood and talked to someone then she could see us and hear what we were saying.

      I now know another leaseholder has a camera looking outside the flats. Last year I thought it was a bit odd that several times when I went down to put stuff in the bins, he would appear. It seemed a bit too often. Did he spend his whole life looking out of his kitchen window? In fact I almost wondered if someone had set up a spy camera in my flat so they knew when I was going out. I knew it was far-fetched but when things happen odd ideas come into your head!


        The question is going to be if a communal area is 'public'; and I don't really see how it could legally be classed as 'private' - it's public although restricted access.

        So the laws on recording in public places would apply


          Check your lease but I'm almost certain it's a breach of the lease. He should be told to remove it without delay.


            I think that it shouldn't be allowed but the lease was written in 1962. Actually, I'm not totally opposed to it but all the leaseholders need to be informed if there is a camera in the communal area.


              lol then just pop a note in each letterbox.

              You dont have to say who you are, simply that you're advising them of the cctv existence.
              My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


                I expect you are not allowed to put anything in a communal area not cause a nuisance.
                I would object to being filmed. They can distort any video and I just don't accept being filmed without my consent. What next in communal areas ?


                  Can you film someone in a public place?

                  This is aimed at amatuer film makers, but covers all filming in public places:

                  A communal area is a privately owned public place, much as a shopping center, sports stadium, or museum, is a privately owned public place. So unless the owner of the communal area puts a restriction on filming/recording of that communal area it's quite legal to film it, and to make a recording.
                  Whether it's done covertly or openly doesn't matter, it's legal to do.

                  If the lease says nothing about it, which I doubt it will then it's not prohibited.
                  (A ban on putting items in the comunal area because they may cause an obstruction probably wouldn't cover a wall/ceiling mounted camera. eg. a video doorbell. The lease may say something about tenants not putting 'fixtures' in the communal area, but possibly not).

                  As said above if someone has put a camera up then you can simply tell everyone about it, anonymously if you like.

                  Or you can complain to the owner of the communal area and ask them to put a ban in place.
                  But if they do put a ban in place and someone breaks that ban then it's a civil matter and not a criminal one.

                  And just in case you were tempted; small (tiny) wifi cameras are cheap these days so replacing a broken one isn't onerous.


                    I don't really think it is like a shopping centre because, there, you know anyone can see you. If I walked downstairs and no-one was around I did feel that I was alone. This week I stood and talked to someone by the front door and I thought we could not be overheard but I was wrong. Now I am wondering what we talked about. I won't do that again.

                    Mind you, they do say that listeners hear no good about themselves!


                      So, what have you decided to do?
                      My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


                        Well I have been thinking about that! I will email the committee and say that I hadn't realised that these spy cameras have been in place for some time. What I would like them to do is either bring it up at the next residents meeting

                        Or find out how many of these spy cameras there are in the communal areas, advise the other residents where they are and they can be left.

                        Or put up a notice by the front door saying that CCTV cameras are in operation in the area

                        Or, ask the managing agent for advice

                        They will probably say they are there to protect their properties from intruders etc. I will say that that's all very well but they were filming us when we thought we were alone.

                        I'm not at all a very private sort of person but don't like the idea that I could have been spied upon.


                          Perhaps get used to the term CCTV for Safety & Security rather than Spy Cameras lol

                          It works for the Police and Council.

                          And as said previously, IF these images are being recorded in any way then there needs to be a registered Data Controller with the ICO (and an annual fee paid).

                          Warning Notices do need to be displayed and carry the contact details for the Data Controller too - any court case relying on the images could fall flat if this is not done.

                          There also needs to be a log of who has been given access to the data - if the Police wish to view it, the Data Controller can demand a written request from a SENIOR Police Officer first.

                          If I was in your position, a short note popped into each letterbox would be sufficient.

                          HOWEVER, if you think the owner of these cameras is (shall we just say) "suspect" then I would be more concerned about it. And don't shake his hand (sorry lol)

                          My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


                            I have no objection to CCTV and I'm sure it could be invaluable if someone in the flats got burgled. When it's on all the time, or movement activated, and it can possibly be used to spy on other residents, then I think it's fair to call it a spy camera. Amazon has got a whole range of what it calls 'spy cameras'.

                            The Cambridge dictionary definition of CCTV is "a system that sends television signals to a limited number of screens, and it is often used in shops and public places to prevent crime".


                              We're going off topic a little but re-read what you said lol

                              You have no objection to CCTV to catch a burglar in the flats.

                              But you object to it being on all the time or motion activated.

                              Erm, how do you suggest it's going to catch that burglar in action?

                              Back on topics again - I guess you've highlighted your own options so hope it gets sorted for you.

                              Though going back to the start post - you mentioned it's a female tenant who's installed the camera, in which case I'd be even less concerned about it (probably get shot for such a comment these days)
                              My views are my own - you may not agree with them. I tend say things as I see them and I don't do "political correctness". Just because we may not agree you can still buy me a pint lol


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