Security Cameras in Public Areas: Florida Condo Law

The state of Florida protects the privacy of its citizens and visitors to its state by governing the use of security cameras and other surveillance methods on condominium property, as does the Florida condominium association law. The laws control where a condo association can place cameras, who has legal or appropriate right to look at the video feed or footage and discuss the potentially harmful effects of illegally viewing people. Consulting with a Florida condo attorney can make planning your condo complex’s security methods easier.

Where You Can Place Security Cameras

You can legally install cameras to observe activity in the public, common areas of your condo complex, apartment complex, or other group living structure. You cannot install cameras legally in any area with an expectation of privacy or where they would be in a state of undress. For example, you could place a camera on the outside of a building that points to the public parking lot of a swimming pool shower house. You can not place the camera inside the shower house because people have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they bathe or use the bathroom. Similarly, you could place a security camera in the lobby of the office building of the condo complex, but not in the bathrooms in the office building, for the same reason – the expectation of privacy.

Cameras on the Building’s Exterior

When you place cameras on the exterior or interior of a building, you must ensure that their placement does not adversely affect the privacy of any individual, according to Section 810.14 of the Florida Statutes, referred to as the Florida Video Voyeurism law. You can only set the cameras to view the public area and must make sure that the camera does not intrude on the interior of any person’s private residence or method of conveyance, such as their car, truck, SUV, or RV. This means you need to check each camera’s setup to ensure it is not trained on any person’s yard or home, but only the public area. The interior of an individual’s domicile is considered private. Even when they open their curtains, they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Forms of Voyeurism

It is illegal for a person to walk up to their window or door and peer into their home. This is peeping or voyeurism and is illegal. Using a camera or other means to observe their home life or activities also violates the law and is called video voyeurism. The nuances of voyeurism can seem obstruse, but a South Florida condominium attorney can elucidate these points of state and Florida condominium association law.

Avoid Illegal Wiretapping

While you can set up security cameras in public places, they can only intercept or record video, not sound. Florida law makes it illegal to intentionally listen to or record the oral communication of a person using any device without the prior written consent of all parties. Without this two-party consent, you illegally wiretap the individual or individuals. Florida law applies this to “wire, oral, or electronic communication.”

Who Can View Video Feeds and Footage

Once you have determined where to place video-only cameras in public areas only and ensure they do not infringe on any person’s privacy, you also need to determine who will gain access to the video footage or feed. Many condo associations limit access to only the board members and property manager. If your organization employs security personnel, they should have access, too.

Liability Issues

Besides privacy issues, you could create other liability issues for the condo association since an owner who observed illegal activity, might try to intervene. The association would incur liability if they were harmed and potentially for negligence if they incurred an injury, the criminal evaded capture, or property incurred damages, as well as other situations.

Contact South Florida Condominium Attorneys

Contact South Florida condo attorney Bakalar & Associates to learn more about condo complex security issues and the law. We can help you design legal security protections for your condominiums.