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Cameras in common areas

Hi everyone…been a long time for obvious reasons. We have stays booked through September thankfully. We have cameras in 3 common areas of the house and have it noted in our listing. Note this is a 7000 sqft home, so the common areas are big with expensive furniture in each. Never had an issue until this stay. The guests went around and covered all three cameras. I don’t really know how to Feel about this. What are y’all thoughts?

Sounds like someone is planning to throw a party and/or break house rules …

I would call Airbnb asap and have them cancel the guest out. Are you near the property? In your shoes I would start driving over there and be rather concerned.

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Guests that cover up cameras are probably one of these

  1. Creeped-out by thinking they are being watched.
  2. Planning to do something they know they shouldn’t be doing.
  3. Don’t want to be seen or recorded doing what they are doing. I.e. not illegal or violating house rules, but they want to be discrete. E.g., maybe there is a celebrity attending, or maybe they are nudists.

You have the big lake house in Texas, right? I disagree with your wording that areas are “common”, because to the guests that booked, they are not. However, from what I remember about your previous posts, I understand why you have the cameras. The house basically screams “this is a party house!” and you need to protect your property. So, #2 is the most likely scenario.

If you feel strongly about it, you should add to your house rules that disabling security cameras will result in immediate eviction, and you should consider even putting a little sign right on every camera stating that.

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I for one, would never stay somewhere with indoor cameras. Nothing to do with parties, just with feeling I could relax and be private. A guest should be able to walk around nude, or have sex outside the bedroom, or even just relax with a book, without having cameras on them.
Outside cameras will alert you to partiers. Are you really going to message the guests or run right over if you see them putting a drink down without a coaster on your expensive furniture?
As far as I’m concerned, an Airbnb should be fairly bulletproof, not have such expensive things that you’re so concerned about being damaged that you would spy on guests in the living room.

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I totally agree with you.

I think the problem is not parties, but wild destructive parties. I think if you saw the listing, you’d understand. If I recall correctly, parties can be authorized, and that 7000 sqft house only has 4 bedrooms, so it has a LOT of other space inside for “socializing”.

Edit: You can find the listing link in the “top links” in @bryan114 's profile.

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Thanks for the link- I see what you mean. It’s impressive, for sure, though not my style.
If I had a listing like that, I’d have a non-obtrusive, on-site caretaker. That would be preferable to me to having indoor cameras or stressing about my expensive furniture, appliances, and decor.

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I hate indoor cameras but if they are clearly disclosed in the listing and guests agreed with them and then covered them I’d be there in person post haste.

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I’ll take that into consideration… thank you

As always…I appreciate all of your feedback. Thank y’all so much

I know that as hosts we tend to think in worst-case-scenarios (e.g. they are doing something illegal etc.). However it is most likely that they just want to protect their privacy and either they didn’t read the listing before the booking or they only realised later how intrusive the cameras really are. I must agree with others that this would really put me off as a guest. If you want to avoid parties, get an outside camera. As for wear and tear of expensive furniture, you just need to price that in your regular pricing.

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“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is like arguing that you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
Edward Snowden

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Can you still hear them?
I would not want to have a camera on me while I am in a whole home listing.
Perhaps the primary guest who booked did not realize how invasive it is to have cameras and the fellow guests were like WTF I am not having any of this!!!
If you are able to I would communicate with guest to ensure there is no party
AND install the cameras outside.
The “common area” is not one shared with others in the house in a shared house situation.

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People are giving their opinion about the existence of the camera, when this is not your question. You have made your decision and made the baseline minimum required disclosure on the listing.

I wonder if you also confirm they know this in some other way? I didn’t see it, if so. I only got through the first half of your 70 photos and don’t see it pointed out in a photo or in the written listing description. Do you point it out when confirming the booking in messaging on platform?

If no, then I would change these things. I don’t even have recording in guest spaces and I still over-disclose the cameras. I do it because guests have heard horror stories about hidden cams in the media and I wanted them to feel reassured as well as covering my own ass against any complaints.

I have it in the listing, a still capture from the video cam in the gallery, and disclosure about trail cams’ locations. It is also disclosed in the check-in guide and in my boilerplate email that goes with check-in instructions. Given that you are actually recording in guest spaces and that is not the norm, the bare minimum disclosure is insuffficient IMO.

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Hey lone star. Thank you for your feedback. Not only is it in the listing, there is a sign right when you walk in the door that tells cameras are in use. I also tell where each camera is and they are in plain view. Really can’t miss them. So I feel very covered there. I say common areas because we never have less than 8-10 people. I’m slowly but surely bullet proofing the house, taking personal items out, once I do that I think the need for cameras won’t be necessary. Thanks every one

That’s good. I would add it to the boilerplate new booking messaging so it’s on platform that they knew within the penalty-free cancellation grace period (including what your remedy will be for covering them up).

This way they can’t claim they didn’t see the disclosure and were surprised when they arrived to see your signs (I have signage, also. 2 stickers came with the video cam and I used 1 below the cam and the other on a window under the front porch). If a guest has a problem with it any of my cams I want to make sure right up front so they can back out before there is any opportunity for hard feelings.

But mainly in my case I didn’t want people to find the tree-colored cams in the yard and start overthinking it and tear my house apart searching for hidden cams. :cowboy_hat_face:

So how did you address it with the guest?

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I would be freaked out too. It should be in your listing description as well but that would lead to fewer bookings because nobody wants to have cameras inside. I walk around butt naked and you may or may not want to see that and I do not want you to see me naked.

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I waited until check out, let them know I’d be filing a complaint with Air. I did. I’m adding to my listing that tampering with cameras will result in being asked to leave.

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I agree with you on alot of that. I wouldn’t stay at a place that has cameras either. It is the guest choice and for now I’m willing to accept a lower occupancy rate for having them. Every guest is well aware of the cameras, but as a precaution In going to add some extra language to the listing. Thanks again

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I believe the existence of cameras is pointed out to you when you actually book as long as the host has put that information in the correct spot. It’s not in the listing words; it’s in a separate section - similar to where the host lists amenity limitations.

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I agree that this is all that is required. But it’s been a matter of controversy in the media, cameras are in unusual places/for unusual reasons in both this host’s case and mine (hers is expensive furnishings, mine because I am a wildlife voyeur :joy:), and “people don’t read”.

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