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Not sure if this question belongs here, so apologies in advance if I have made a mistake.

My landlord has asked me to purchase a CCTV camera to be placed above the front door. We have had a few disturbances in our area recently and they said that they would like to install it to ensure that we are safe and to give them peace of mind. We have chosen one of these new cameras that save the footage to an SD card and can also be accessed in real-time via a phone app. My landlord will be the one paying for it.

My landlord has asked that we do not delete the footage when we leave the property, as they want to "re-run it". I don't feel comfortable about this as I feel as though it is an invasion of my privacy. I am a young woman and don't feel comfortable about my landlord going through the footage with no real reason. What is the law surrounding this? Can I delete the footage from the camera after we leave, but save a copy for myself, so if they request the footage from a certain date (for whatever reason), then I can provide it?

Finally, what is the law surrounding providing my landlord with real-time access to the camera via the phone app? I feel even more uncomfortable providing this for obvious reasons, and I worry that this will be next on the list...

EDIT

Sorry for the lack of clarity, I am UK based. The camera will be placed above the front door. Our front door is facing a garden entrance, and so to get to the front door, you must enter via a garden gate which is directly in front (maybe two or three metres) of the front door. The gate is an iron gate and so you can see a very small portion of the street outside if you look from the front door. So in short, the camera will see people coming in through the garden gate as they approach the front door, and may see people passing by the garden gate on the street.

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    1) Those micro-SD cards are tiny and fragile. It's so easy to accidentally drop them where they can't be found or retrieved, so be careful not to be standing over a street drain when you're holding one, or step on it if you drop it. 2) Your local police crime-prevention officer should be able to offer advice - and asking for advice may alert them to a need for more vigilance on their part in your area. – Andrew Morton Jul 16 at 19:18
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    How much backlog does the camera store? Even a huge SD card will be overwriting itself after not too much time. – Michael Richardson Jul 16 at 19:52
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    "My landlord has asked" - Was this an informal ask, or was this written into your lease agreement? You can likely refuse if the former and if the latter, we'll need the relevant details from the lease. – bta Jul 16 at 20:22
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    You say "we" and "I am a young woman". Who else is living there and are you co-tenants (ie decided to move in together) or is it just multiple occupancy (ie you are renting a room)? How do the other tenants feel about this request? – Dragonel Jul 16 at 21:19
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    I like the GDPR angle - if you're worried about retribution, you should be able to compel him to delete the information that shows you in it, after you leave. Personally, though, I'd just wipe the SD card before I go, and claim it was faulty. – lupe Jul 17 at 10:11
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This article basically says "it depends":

  • If it is genuinely used to improve tenant safety then that is OK, but if it is used to track your private life then that is not acceptable.

  • Cameras that cover communal areas used by several properties are generally acceptable, but cameras covering individual properties are much less so. It sounds like this falls into the latter category.

Assuming you haven't got the camera yet, I suggest you write to the Landlord asking for a written justification of the cameras, and a policy for the use of the camera. E.g. it will only be viewed if an incident is reported. Once you have the justification you can then look for inconsistencies (e.g. if they aren't planning to snoop at random times, how are they going to notice someone up to no good? And how would they tell?)

You could also just say "no". The installation of this camera probably counts as a material variation of the rental agreement.

You could also propose a compromise: you will install the camera, but only provide footage as you see fit rather than allowing your landlord to view the camera at any time.

CCTV installations are covered by the GDPR, so you should ask your landlord for the associated paperwork. Amongst other things they will need to state how long they want to keep the footage and provide a justification for that. "We might want to re-run it" is not a justification.

Having all this stuff written down will help if you ever suspect he is abusing the footage.

Edit Another thought: does the landlord own other properties? Are they having cameras installed too? If not, why not? They should have a policy about this.

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    Thank you for your great answer! All has been taken on board :) – pho_pho Jul 16 at 13:48
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    """You could also just say "no". The installation of this camera probably counts as a material variation of the rental agreement.""" All things considered, I think this is the most sensible approach. – Mast Jul 17 at 7:53
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    @Mast I don't see how you can be sure of that from details provided in the question, which is why this is a very good answer enumerating the different possibilities. It may well be that the only alternative to refusing such a variation to the tenancy agreement is terminating it, which the landlord has broad discretion to do. Given that the OP only expressed discomfort with a specific aspect of the proposed usage of the camera, it's entirely possible that an arrangement with clear policies or compromises is preferred if it avoids a need to move elsewhere. – Will Jul 17 at 10:47
  • Just to add to this, if the camera is only filming a public area (the street) or somewhere which is easily visible by anyone in a public area (the front garden), you don't have any right to "privacy". This is why Google can take Streetview pictures without facing claims of invasion of privacy (or at least why those claims don't amount to anything legal). If you believe you're a victim of stalking then that would be different, but otherwise when you step out of your front door then anyone can take a picture of you, any time, and there's nothing you can do about it. – Graham Jul 17 at 11:56
  • @Will Whilst what you have said could technically be true (assuming that there is an applicable break clause and/or periodic tenancy capable of termination), no sane landlord is likely to evict his tenants over something as small as a refusal to hand over CCTV recordings after they leave. Especially not in the middle of a pandemic where having to re-let the property is an even riskier proposition than normal. – JBentley Jul 17 at 23:27
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Adding to Paul's answer, you have considerable protections under GDPR here, and there's a host of angles you can use to get your data removed, or have it not collected in the first place. Your landlord, even as a sole trader, is required to register and pay a fee to do this to the ICO (1), and can be fined up to £4000 if he fails to do so.

You have the right to have images of you removed from the CCTV footage. I don't believe the property would count as the landlord's private property, as you have an agreement to use it as your private property for the duration of the tenancy (2)

If the landlord fails to comply, you should refer him to the ICO, although it is worth sending a letter first informing him of your intentions.

(1) https://landlords.org.uk/news-campaigns/blogs/the-data-protection-fee-do-landlords-and-letting-agents-need-pay

(2) https://ico.org.uk/your-data-matters/domestic-cctv-systems-guidance-for-people-being-filmed/

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4

Presumably you are not being asked to sign a replacement tenancy agreement in which you have the obligation to hand over the data when you leave the property. Rather it sounds like an informal request on the part of the landlord. Such a request is unenforceable.

In order for it to be legally binding, there would need to be a contract (whether oral or written) with agreement (an offer from one party followed by an acceptance from the other), intention from both parties to create legal relations, and consideration (something of value) passing between both parties. This scenario fails on the second and third points (the consideration requirement can be met by executing the agreement as a written deed, but that is not going to apply here either).

So, an easy option is to permit the installation of the camera, but refuse to hand over the data when you leave.

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My landlord has asked that we do not delete the footage when we leave the property, as they want to "re-run it".

What happens if you delete it anyway? Would they have any recourse against you?

They may be annoyed or not, but probably wont be able to follow it up (if you don't sign this in writing).

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    Welcome to Law Stack Exchange. Please do not use answers to pose questions of your own, to speculate, or to put forth theories that you are uncertain about. If you believe that the landlord will have no recourse, then explain the legal principles behind it. Also as an aside, whether or not OP signs something in writing is irrelevant. Contracts can be concluded orally. Conversely, even if the OP did sign something in writing, that doesn't mean it is necessarily enforceable. – JBentley Jul 18 at 16:27
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You appear to have been asked to install a mains-powered device on the outside of the building. Are you a qualified electrician?

If not, don't get involved with the installation. (That includes the buying of the camera.)

If this is a bona-fide rental then you will have some sort of written agreement with a lettings agent who holds your deposit and collects the rent. Consider forwarding the landlord's request as a formal complaint about the health and safety of the property, if they are asking any random person to do electrical work. Include your privacy concerns in the complaint. The aim is to force them to provide a written description of both the privacy/data-protection policy that will apply (see other answers), and make them to their own dirty work of installing the camera.

What will the other residents think/say if they come home and find you slyly fixing a camera above the front door? Don't get involved with the installation.

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    Too many assumptions and/or inaccuracies in this answer: (1) that the camera will be mains powered, (2) that installing it will require electrical work (as opposed to simply running cables), (3) that there is a letting agent involved, (4) that there needs to be a written agreement for the rental to be "bona-fide", (5) that the landlord's request constitutes a health and safety issue, (6) that there are other residents. Furthermore, going full-frontal attack on the landlord will cause a break down in the relationship and is rather heavy handed at this stage. – JBentley Jul 18 at 16:34
  • @JBentley: ... to simply running cables as is, or will they have to be in a conduit? ...the landlord's request constitutes a health and safety issue, it does. The camera has to be fitted, powered, and potentially the SD card accessed. All have some level of "health and safety" implication - as well as the privacy aspects that other answers have mentioned - and it's the landlord's job to manage them, not the OPs. – Lou Knee Jul 19 at 14:11
  • @JBentley will require electrical work (as opposed to simply running cables) That’s called “use of flexible cordage as a substitute for installed wiring”. Being that it isn’t Bangkok, I’m quite sure the UK has a rule comparable to El NEC 400.6 to 8 which prohibits that. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 19 at 15:45
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It's the landlord's house. If he wants to install an outward pointing camera that's his right.

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  • Welcome to law.se. Our style here is different than discussion forums; you can take the tour to understand better. In particular, answers need to be explained and/or supported. Generally that’s almost impossible to do in a “tweet” style 2 sentence reply. As such they are not a good fit here; if that’s your style then SE may not be for you. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 19 at 15:49
  • Additionally, this answer is wrong. A landlord gives up many rights when a property is tenanted, including the right to simply show up and start installing things as he pleases. The rights he has are determined by statute and, with limitations, to what the contract says. Typically rights of entry will be limited to things like emergency, abandonment, etc. He many have additional contractual rights (e.g. to enter to carry out an inspection) but even those are not rights of entry as such: the landlord cannot legally enter without a court order if the tenant breaches contract by refusing entry. – JBentley Jul 19 at 16:32

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