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Can your landlord install cameras in or around your home?

Privacy concerns often come up between landlords and tenants, especially regarding surveillance cameras. If you live in Maryland and wonder if your landlord can place cameras in or around your rented home, you are not alone.

Knowing your rights as a tenant and the limitations on landlords is an important part of renting.

Know the basics

Landlords often want to protect their property. They use cameras to enhance the safety of the building, protect its tenants and deter potential damages or crimes. However, specific restrictions apply to where they can place these cameras and why they use them.

Camera placement boundaries

Landlords typically have the right to place cameras in shared areas like hallways, laundry rooms, parking lots and building entrances. These spaces do not offer a reasonable expectation of privacy because multiple people access them.

However, the rules change when it comes to your apartment’s interior or areas viewed as private. Usually, a landlord cannot place cameras inside an individual’s rented space, whether it is a room or a whole apartment. The same rule applies to personal spaces like balconies or patios, where you expect privacy.

The reason for the camera counts

The reason behind placing a camera also plays a significant role. If a landlord sets up a camera intending to spy or intrude on a tenant’s privacy, they could face legal repercussions. Landlords should not use cameras to watch a tenant’s personal life or activities.

Communication is key

Landlords should tell tenants about any surveillance cameras, preferably when they sign the lease. This open communication can prevent misunderstandings later on. If you discover a camera that you did not know about, you should talk to your landlord and share your concerns.

Renting does not mean sacrificing your privacy rights. While landlords in Maryland may want to safeguard their property, they also need to respect their tenants’ privacy.