Living near other people can have its pros and cons. Whilst it can be nice having a support network close by, someone to ask for a quick favour or to have a friendly chat with, having neighbours can make home surveillance that bit more complicated. If your neighbours place security cameras around their property, this can leave people in the surrounding area feeling slightly uncomfortable or anxious, wondering if their privacy is being violated. Whilst your neighbours' intentions will not be malicious, ensuring everyone feels safe within their space is within both parties' interests. We have outlined some information regarding the legalities of home surveillance to help you easily approach the situation.
What does the law say?
As property owners, your neighbours are perfectly within their rights to install security cameras to prevent intruders or burglars. If their camera captures your front door or the front of your house, this is not against the law, as you have no right to privacy in this public space. So whilst it is not illegal for a security camera to capture footage of your home, your neighbour will become subject to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the DPA (Data Protection Act 2018). This means you can request footage of your home that has been recorded, and your neighbours will have to comply with your request. These laws also require people to put up signage alerting those close by that they are being recorded.
Communicating is key
If you have any questions or concerns, it is best to have an honest and open conversation with your neighbours, to understand their intentions for installing surveillance and see what angles are being captured which may affect your home. If there have been issues around antisocial behaviour or burglaries in your area, footage being captured could benefit the surrounding community or be used to spot strange behaviour that neighbours should be aware of. Your neighbours should also be communicating that:
- The footage is being collected for a justifiable reason, and the camera angles being used are also for a certain reason. If, for example, recording their back door includes a slight view of your back garden, this is not illegal as the angle has an obvious purpose.
- No more footage than what is required is being captured.
- Footage recorded will be kept for no longer than one month; it will then be destroyed.
- Footage can be deleted if people ask it to be. If footage can not be deleted, there must be a genuine legal reason for this. If the recording party fail to provide this reason, you will have grounds for a court case.
What if they fail to comply with recording laws?
Suppose the recording party fail to comply with the above or any other recording laws set out by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). In that case, they will be subject to action by the ICO. Penalties range from a monetary fine to legal action. However, if your neighbours comply with the thorough guidance set out by the ICO and are open about how/ what they’re recording, no problems should occur.