Can Tenants Install Security Cameras (Systems)?

11 Replies

My husband and I rented a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, separate entrance house (one entire floor of the house) in Astoria, NY. We moved here around September 2016 and have no problem with the landlord until now. We started losing packages both from UPS and USPS. We suspected it was the second-floor tenant or someone who lives in the same house. The first thing we did was contacting the landlord. She told me it was none of her business and I need to take care of my own packages. So that’s what I did. I posted an A4 letter size note beneath the general mailbox and I posted an A4 letter size note on my window. The note basically stated that due to recent package theft, please place the packages in the basement.

The landlord was very upset about the note I posted. She tries very hard to get me to take down notes. I told her I can take down the note, but I should be able to use alternative ways to solve my problem. I suggest installing the security camera in front of my own door (it’s a separate entrance) and on my own windows. I am willing to pay for the installation (it’s not cheap). It means that much to me. The landlord was very firm on not allowing me to install cameras. She also told me I should send my packages to my friend's place or at my workplace. I told her I am a paying tenant and I have my rights. I am on a month to month lease, and it does not mention anything about the camera.

So my questions are:

Can I, tenant install security cameras inside or outside our own rental premises?

If I install security cameras without my landlord’s permission, can she just take them down?

Thanks in advance!

Sounds like a pretty bad landlord, sorry you're dealing with that. I think if you put up cameras outside of your place where she can access them and she doesn't want them there, she will most probably take them down. You are allowed to put cameras inside of your apartment though, even if they are facing outwards, as long as they are not obviously looking into another person's apartment. If you do want to put them up just be sure they are facing downwards and not towards neighbor's windows.  Sounds like a pretty big hassle for having a month to month though. Good luck.

If you have a window that faces your porch you could install a wireless security camera that faces out your window and records as long as it doesn't face directly into someone else's unit. I have one of these to watch my dog during the day and it's worked great so far.

Simple no packages unless signed for. Signature required on everything.

UPS has local hubs in neighborhoods that they leave packages at..  for easy pick up.

The camera thing is over the top,, 

We have used a camera not too expensive that we got at BJs for seeing who is in the driveway. It has remote acess. Nest cameras too all self install. Tiny, one sits on the windowsill. I don't think it is too much to have something on a porch or entry. However it is not a bad idea to switch to required signitures. I don't know if they can say no if it is not permanantly mounted. You might start with just a video suviellance sign. And for stealing it is not always who you think it is. Consider a test package to check it out.

Installation of permanent cameras might not be allowable (the language of the lease would dictate that) but there are plenty of non-permanent options. A tenant of mine uses Iris from Lowe's and loves it. The cameras are all wireless and nothing is a permanent installation. It's all monitored through an app and I understand it's reasonably inexpensive. 

Can't be too careful!

@Jing H. Cameras are my bread and butter.  Since it is not a separate dwelling, you aren't leasing the outside of the house, your landlord could take down any cameras on the exterior.  He'd be a total jerk for doing so, but he is not breaking any laws that I know of.  As others had mentioned before, if you have a camera looking out one of your windows, at the front door area, there is nothing he can do about that.  There are many "wireless" cameras out there, but most need to be plugged into and outlet, so while there is no data connection wire, you will need a power wire.  There is a product called Arlo (recently acquired by Netgear) that make battery powered rechargeable cameras that work over wifi.  As a renter, I think that is your best solution since you can self install, you can put one literally anywhere since you don't need to be near an outlet, and you can take them with you when you move.  Let me know if you have any other questions on them!

Sorry to hear of your issue. Generally speaking installing any new fixture in a house requires owner approval. As others have mentioned though there are very low cost wi-fi cameras that can look at your porch all day and record the coming and goings. You could buy a trail camera pointed out a window (so it pops on with movement) for under $70. They are cheap enough hunters put them in the woods to see when deer come by and record on a card. I think you are looking at using a sledge hammer to drive in a finishing nail. Of course you may want to buy it locally or it could fail to be delivered :)

Good luck with your issue

Are the privacy concerns with the Yi cameras still relevant? It was something with how all the data goes through servers in china and no real way to disable it?

As long as you are not installing something to the actual building...inside or out....you should be well within your rights to install cameras. Plenty of simple cheap cameras you can buy that have a stand etc where you can just set them on a window sill or desk and point them out the window.

And be prepared to be disappointed in the reaction once you get video..... the landlord wont do jack if its the other tenant and the police will consider it low priority to make an arrest etc.

Even if you get video, I would have my packages delivered to a secure location....

Question is what does your lease agreement states? Is their any clause about installing cameras?

Hi so i live on the 3rd floor of a 3 story 6 family. The first floor tenant is a nuisance and harrasses and bothers everyone, him and his wife. They both stay home all day they dont work and they installed surveillance cameras inside main hallway. When u walk in the locked secure front door that only tenants have keys to you hear the sensor beep. When walking down stair case just before there door same thing you hear the sensor beep. They have them outside on their side of building and they literally come outside as soon as u pull up and go to door as soon as u come around the stairs. I feel my privacy is being invaded and i dont feel safe them being able to see exactly when i come and go. We dont know if there is audio but u hear them talking amost each other about the things we speak of in the privacy of our own home. Is this all legal? The landlord never approved it but they are such a nuisance they are scared of him. Im ready to rip them down myself and leave it on his door mat. Atleast the one watching me check my mail and come and go from my apt. What can i do?

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