hey guys, i have a question, i understand that the law right now is that you cannot legally record a phone call in Washington state without first giving notice to the other party, my question, is Is it legal to record your room mates, without their permission or knowledge in "community areas"

i'm not talking if they invite you into their private rooms can you record them without their knowledge or consent.

i am talking about community areas, public spaces in the house, the kitchen, the hallways, the transitionary spaces, things like that.

thank you.

  • Are you suspecting them of committing some kind of crime?
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 25, 2020 at 2:21
  • 1
    Are you asking about audio recording, video recording, or both? I think you're asking about audio only, but it's probably worth clarifying. Sep 25, 2020 at 19:55
  • both audio and video Sep 25, 2020 at 21:23
  • What are you trying to accomplish here? Would pure video work? Sep 25, 2020 at 22:25
  • threats, threats of violence, domestic violence incidents, people accusing other people of stealing stuff, things of that nature, i don't think they have any reasonable expectation of privacy because there is no privacy in common areas, any one can just walk, and they do, the department of corrections comes every now and then, my goal is to record a domestic violence incident should it occur. Sep 26, 2020 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


No, not without consent

RCW 9.73.030 states, in relevant part:

it shall be unlawful for any individual...to intercept, or record any...[p]rivate conversation, by any device electronic or otherwise designed to record or transmit such conversation regardless how the device is powered or actuated without first obtaining the consent of all the persons engaged in the conversation.

Someone having a conversation in their own home with no one else around would expect that conversation to be private, so claiming it's a "public space" within the home is unlikely to go anywhere.

Separately, recording people in their home without their knowledge or consent is just a really bad idea for a whole variety of non-legal reasons.

  • so, the home is not private, their rooms are private, the rest of the home is public community areas, i can bring anyone into the house in the community areas and they can't stop me, they can do the same, Sep 25, 2020 at 21:24
  • 1
    It's still private, in that there aren't more than a handful of people (the people who live in the house & their guests) who are allowed in. It's also generally about expectations of privacy: you wouldn't expect someone to listen in on a conversation an empty room in your own home, even if you're not the only person who lives there. See, e.g., Katz v. United States, in which a person was held to have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a conversation in a public phone booth. That's in the 4th Amendment context, but it's similar.
    – Ryan M
    Sep 25, 2020 at 21:39
  • really, the home is not private, animals, junkies, any guy can just walk in, police, department of corrections, i have no say what so ever who can come in, anyone can because i can't prove if they are a guest or not, only the rooms and bathrooms are private, Sep 26, 2020 at 1:51

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