Wording for adding security cameras?

We installed security cameras in early December and through reading various posts on here I realize that I must disclose it on my listing and to my guests who have already booked.

There is only one camera at the front door so we can monitor who is arriving (confirming only guests who have registered), time of arrival, parking (that they are only in our area or they will be ticketed) and noise levels at night.

I am trying to figure out how to word this on our policies page and in our listings. I thought about just noting it as a simple one-line statement. But then I realized that since they are battery-operated we either don’t monitor all the time, or the batteries may just run out. So if, for instance, they are counting on the cameras for their own security and the camera doesn’t happen to be on I don’t want to be held responsible.

I’m thinking something like:
“We have exterior cameras that may be used for security and/or to monitor that our policies are adhered to.”

I hope that will deter people who might plan on hosting a party or sneaking in unregistered guests, for example.

Feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

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I created my verbiage by borrowing from several different owners. Feel free to borrow anything. I still say the security deposit can be forfeited even if Air would never uphold it.

Video Surveillance: – The Property has security cameras placed in the front deck/parking lot area, front of the waterfall, and zipline. This video footage is not shared and is recorded for liability reasons in the cases of a break-in, death, injury, guests sneaking in pets, guests disregarding the maximum occupancy allowed, and in no way infringes upon the guests’ expectations of privacy in these public areas of the property. Any attempt at disabling or obscuring the cameras is prohibited and may result in the guest being evicted without refund. The full deposit will be forfeited if any of the above are found. You will also be asked to leave the property immediately without any money returned.

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@CanadianHost -
Why not just say “We now have exterior cameras to monitor the exterior of our home. Any attempt at disabling, redirecting or obscuring the cameras is prohibited and will result in full forfeiture of the security deposit and may, at the owner’s discretion, result in the guest being evicted without refund of outstanding nights’ rents.” (Thanks to cabinhost for most of those words)

The use of the word “security” is what might create expectations in your guests’ mind. Stay away from that word, and just state the fact that the cameras monitor the exterior.

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Great feedback from both! Thank you. I am updating right now.

As I’m writing this I realize the exceptional line of [quote=“cabinhost, post:2, topic:12408”]
in no way infringes upon the guests’ expectations of privacy in these public areas of the property.
[/quote]

because privacy cannot be expected in public outdoor areas. But the statement somehow satisfies any thoughts of being ‘spied on’.

I see the wisdom in not calling them “security” cameras but I do want people to be aware that if they invite extra people we will know it.

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I am deliberately fuzzy about where the exterior cameras are placed in case of thieves using ABB to “shop”. I just say they monitor the exterior.

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Thank you! Another good point.

I recently installed 4 cameras and its great! I personally dont beleive in disclosing them, but what forces you to disclose?

Airbnb states: "Our Standards & Expectations require that all members of the Airbnb community respect each other’s privacy. More specifically, we require hosts to disclose all cameras in listings and we prohibit any surveillance devices in certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and washrooms) regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.

If you’re a host and you have any type of surveillance device in or around a listing, even if it’s not turned on or hooked up, we require that you let guests know by including this information clearly in your listing description and photographs.If a host discloses the device after booking, Airbnb will allow the guest to cancel the reservation and receive a refund. Host cancellation penalties may apply.

Violating this policy may result in your suspension or removal from the Airbnb community. In addition, you should ensure that your use of surveillance equipment is consistent with applicable local laws and regulations."

In other words, if an Airbnb guest reports the cameras were not noted in your listing they get a refund, you lose the money from the booking, get a penalty and may be suspended from using Airbnb.

Also, due to recent groups that have had unregistered guests I WANT them to know that the cameras are there and may be used to monitor that and other possible violations.

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I simply say “Smile! There is a nest cam covering the entrance, for your protection”.

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As a potential guest, a message like that would stop me from renting out your place. Sorry, but I am being honest. The wording should be changed to something like this ‘Security cameras are in place at the front door for your protection’. Then again, a message like that would also stop me from renting out your place as I would question how safe the neighbourhood is.

I’d feel the same

I’m shocked that as a private citizen you thought you could surveil guests and not disclose this.

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UPDATE: I’ve emailed each of our bookings the following:

"We have updated a couple of policies and wanted you to be aware of the changes.

  1. We used to ask that smokers go outside to smoke under our covered areas. But going forward we will no longer be accepting any smoking on the premises, either inside or outside. The reason is that we’ve had complaints about smokers going outside after 10pm and creating noise - even talking and laughing at normal levels can disturb sleep. As well, even though we’ve asked that people contain their butts, we often find that people throw their butts on the ground, or make burn marks on our deck.

  2. We have installed exterior cameras for security purposes, and to monitor that our rental policies are upheld.

Hopefully this does not affect your rental. If it does, please let me know so we might be able to work something out."

Each of the guests replied, but NOT ONE even mentioned the outdoor cameras, they only commented on whether or not they had smokers in the group. Those with no smokers said they totally support our decision. Those WITH smokers offered to be extra careful about containing their butts and being extra quiet after 10pm.

Thanks to @cabinhost, @PitonView and @TuMo for helping me with the wording on our rental policies. Trying to keep “the rules” to one page I’ve added this:
“Video Surveillance cameras monitor the exterior of our home. Footage remains private and may be used for liability reasons and to monitor occupancy and other policies noted here. It in no way infringes upon the expectation of privacy in these public areas. To disable or obscure the cameras is prohibited and may result in eviction without refund.”

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@CanadianHost -
I really like what you ended up with on your wording. We’re adding cameras, too (both to monitor guests and to increase security when no one is in the house), so I’m saving your wording for our use, too. Thank you.

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@CanadianHost and @PitonView:

It might be a good idea to add the word “cigarette” before the word “butts” for clarification…and to remove all doubt.

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I have a Party Squasher in my Airbnb and typically I put the “warning” in the “House Rules” area of my Airbnb listings. I put it in that area because guests have to agree to “House Rules” prior to booking, so this is the right place to notify guests that I’m proactively monitoring my home to avoid unwanted parties.

It may also avoid a party in the first place!

Here is some sample text for you to use:

To help us monitor your compliance with our house rules, we use a signal detection box in our home that will send us reports regarding the total number of devices in our home at any one time. We will not receive any personal information in these reports or even any information about any one individual device.

Pro-Tip: For Airbnb users, your house rules can be updated as follows. Login to your Airbnb account > Manage listings > Booking.

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Hahaha!!! Good point! Thank you!

@iamkatechan -
The Party Squasher is a great idea to avoid/detect large groups. I don’t know if it is accurate enough to let you know that one or two more people snuck in and are staying overnight. Security cameras also help with security .

But thank you for the reminder on Party Sqausher - I think it will be great for those hosts that worry a lot about large parties.

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I just reread the part about disclosing in photographs. Does anyone take this literally to mean that we have to show photos of the cameras’ locations?

I’m wondering this too. I added wording to my listing when I installed outdoor cameras, but have not added any photos. Do I put just a picture of a camera? Or do I have to have a picture of the camera as/where it is installed? Every single camera?(I have 4). Do you think a picture of a sign, along the lines of “property monitored by cameras” would suffice?

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