I recently noticed that my neighbor installed a camera that looks from inside of his apartment straight on my door. This could be interpreted like that camera is pointed at whomever is potentially standing at his door, but it is also pointed straight at my door. This camera can also see inside of my apartment through the window, so I have to keep its blinds closed.

This is in California, and in a very safe gated neighborhood with nearly no crime. When the delivered package is left outside the door nobody would take it even if it is left there for weeks.

I don't feel comfortable that somebody can collect information on when I come in and out and with whom.

Is there anything I can do? Is this legal to install such camera?

4 Answers 4


I would agree with @DaleM that it is probably legal to install such a camera, however I think that you may have recourse -

Apparently, California has Civil Stalking Laws and you may be able to get a restraining order prohibiting him from monitoring your front door. (You may also look into harassment, which would be related)


Is there anything I can do?

You can ask your neighbour to remove the camera or aim it so that it doesn't capture your door/window.

Is this legal to install such camera?

Yes; assuming that the installation complies with building codes and your body corporate rules.

In general, whatever can be seen from a public place can be photographed.

  • The staircase of an apartment building isn't really public, is it? Besides, in Germany, it's not allowed to capture public ground with a camera on your property at all due to the privacy law, and a camera pointed at another apartment door would be considered an infringement of the general personality right of the resident leading to an injunctive relief against the neighbour. Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 6:32
  • 1
    @amadeusamadeus in a secure apartment, no. But there are plenty of apartments where access to the stair is public. In any event, it's "public" to the legal residents and guests of the complex.
    – Dale M
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 7:09

If the camera looks into your window or door when it opens it could be construed as illegal surveillance and perhaps stalking.

There is no expectation of privacy in a public areas but if this is a private property then there is an expectation of privacy. The landlord might also be concerned for liability purposes including a breach of quiet enjoyment you suffer due to your neighbor's infringement.

You should contact your apartment management and consult a tenant lawyer for advice.

  • 3
    Private property does not inherently create an expectation of privacy, unless it is also a private place. Shopping malls are private property but shoppers do not have an expectation of privacy in the publicly accessible areas.
    – user4657
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 8:56

You may wish to consult with and alert your landlord, the property of apartment buildings do not belong exclusively to tenants -- the landlord would be a good way to ensure interceding is handled diplomatically. You can also attempt to contact the building inspectors of your area (check with city government web pages) to additionally see if this is a potential building code violation.

  • 1
    The landlord is an interesting idea, though I doubt the landlord would want to get involved unless forced to. I'm extremely skeptical about building codes, however. They're normally about ensuring that buildings are structurally sound and otherwise safe. Do you have any reason to think they would mention surveillance cameras?
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 16:48

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