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Surveillance camera disclosure


#1

Hi everyone, I am installing a wifi camera to cover the front main entrance of my house. it will be above the door under the porch, and will be very obvious. My Airbnb unit is the lower level basement suite with separate entrance at the back of the house. So technically, the camera has not much to do with the Airbnb unit, but guests will probably see the camera when they walk from parking to the back of the house. Should I disclose this camera under my listing to avoid any potential problem with Airbnb privacy rules? If I do, please help me with the wording, I want to keep it simple and short, just to inform the existence of the camera, but not scare people away. Thank you so much!


#2

There have been several news reports about hidden cameras, so Airbnb is very strict about disclosure now. Your listing should mention any devices on your property (there’s some controversy about cameras in areas guests aren’t supposed to access, but doesn’t sound like an issue in your case). If you haven’t disclosed the presence of cameras and a guest complains, Airbnb will side with them. I would disclose your front door camera even though it’s main purpose isn’t monitoring your guests’ access.

Many hosts use exterior cameras, so it isn’t a big deal - it’s cameras in the living space that most people would take issue with.

In the “Booking Settings” --> “House Rules” section, you’ll see “Details guests must know about your home” and then a section for “Surveillance or recording devices on property”. Mine says “Exterior monitored by two cameras (front door & back yard). No cameras indoors!” You might say something like “Front porch at Host’s door is monitored by an exterior camera. No cameras or surveillance devices inside the guest space”


#3

Hi @zywan0124,

I’m pretty sure you are required to disclose any and all cameras/recording devices. As to the wording, Air makes it easy for you. I’ve done just as @Allison_H has done and checked the “surveillance or recording devices on property” box. I noted that they are exterior only, and I’ve also added that they are not continuously monitored (in case someone thinks I’m spying on them or thinks I monitor everything “real time”)


#4

Thank you Allison, I like your working, simple and clear, thank you:)
BTW, is it necessary to email or message to all the future booked guests to inform this newly installed camera? I personally think it’s a bit excessive, but I am not sure if I should do it.


#5

I wouldn’t contact them just to inform of the camera, but I’d mention it in your welcome e-mail - “We’ve recently updated our listing describing the new camera monitoring the front exterior of the house. Airbnb asks us to disclose any cameras on the property, so I just wanted to mention it since it was added after you booked.”


#6

And a guest who booked before your disclaimer has been added to your narrative could insist that you take down the camera during their stay. AirBNB would back them up too.


#7

If I guest insisted I take it down then I wouldn’t want them as a guest anyway. I wonder if Airbnb would also back me up and allow a penalty free cancellation. I would think they would since I can cancel guests I’m not comfortable hosting.


#8

Yes, mentioning it in the welcome e-mail gives them notice and they can respond in a number of ways - including cancelling. I suppose they could ask you take it down, which would make me think the guests were pretty precious.

"Airbnb, please cancel this reservation; ‘I don’t feel comfortable with these guests’ "


#9

I simply refuse to rent a place with cameras. I expect that the host would have to pay to relocate me. Precious? No, I am not precious. I would simply want the place to be as represented.


#10

I have cameras covering all four sides of the house. It’s a major boon for when guests decide to ‘forget’ to mention that they’re bringing extra people. Anyway, the description says that there is external security cameras and no one has ever complained EXCEPT for the one guy who booked for four people and snuck in nine and a dog…then lied about it. Sang a different tune when I emailed him the stills. He made a huff in his review about being spied on.

Discrete external video is a huge, huge aid and I cannot recommend it enough.


#11

Yep. I’d think you were precious and likely high maintenance. I’d be happy to have you cancel at that point. Sometimes things change; broken/damaged stuff is replaced and improvements made. The best we can do as hosts is to communicate changes to our guests. If they don’t like the change they can cancel.

Would you complain that I’d changed out the rug in the living room? It’s a different color than what’s in the listing photos, but I’d hope you’d prefer a new one to the wine-stained one it replaced.

What about if a pool were installed after you booked? For many (most?) that would be a welcome improvement. I could understand someone not wanting that (safety with small kids?) and they can ask to be rehomed. But asking that the camera be removed (not just turned off) is as precious to me as a guest demanding the pool be filled in.


#12

Me too. Now that I have them I don’t know what I did without them. For me it’s not primarily “spying” or catching someone doing something. Just knowing if my guests are here or not and how much noise I’m free to make, or knowing if they came in at 2 am instead of 10 pm. I’ve had a couple of people booking including an artist driving a panel van full of her art to a show who booked me 4x (so far) in part because of the cameras. So for every guest I lose, I’m surely gaining one.

My most recent guest didn’t seem to be trying to sneak. He booked for one and the next morning I saw two leaving. I hadn’t even checked the camera footage. So I messaged him and he paid right away. He didn’t realize he hadn’t booked for two.


#13

Don’t think that anyone can make you take it down. It’s your property and you are free to make changes. However, there may be consequences for those changes, such as the booking being cancelled by the guest or Airbnb and you might get dinged for it (I’m not saying that you would or should), if someone really wants to be a stink about it. You certainly have the right to protect your property and a camera is a device that is an important security tool. It is outside and in no way affects the guests stay in the unit. - IMHO


#14

AirBnB’s policy covers much more that surveillance cameras, not yet a seen a listing that disclosed such things as cell phones.


#15

you need to disclose.i do it in my listing, house rules and tick the box that my house contains a video system. been doing that for 3 years and never had an issue. i use hidden cams in living room only


#16

Before I freak out I suppose I should ask for clarification.


#17

I agree. There seems to be a tendency amongst unprofessional hosts to treat all guests as some sort of bizarre thugs who need constant monitoring - otherwise they will revert to some sort of troglodyte state.

They’re going to break things, they’re going to cause damage, they’re going to create mayhem…

I don’t think so!

I’d much rather stay with a host who regards me as a civilised human being who is unlikely to break the wine glasses, set the place on fire or steal the television. Sad maybe but true.


#18

I have cameras facing the doors from the outside. I can see when and how many people check in. I would not know by the cameras if they broke anything in the house. Nothing wrong with cameras outside.

RR


#19

I agree. I’m originally from the UK and you can’t walk down a street there without being filmed on a CCTV. So I’m used to it in public. If a host said in a listing that the cameras were to prevent extra people coming in, then fine. But spying on me? No. Even though I wouldn’t want to be lumped along with people who do such things, I can understand.

However, is the phenomenon of people sneaking extra folk in a feature of lower priced accommodation? Are they trying to save money by splitting the cost?


#20

LOL, I would not SAY its to keep you from sneaking in extra guest! I have a 3 bedroom house sleeps six and its not cheap compared to the competition but people ARE cheap, sometimes. I have in the spot where you disclose cameras " For your safety there are cameras outside every door and they are always on. There are no cameras in the house"

RR


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