CCTV cameras on your strata property: added security or breach of privacy?

We explore why you may need CCTV cameras on your strata, body corporate, or owners corporation property and explain how they can be used without invading residents’ privacy


In today’s modern world, the incorporation of CCTV surveillance is becoming an increasingly regular component of life within strata, owners corporations, and body corporate communities across Australia. However, these cameras can sometimes be accompanied by a murky reputation and raise concerns amongst residents due to the potential for misuse and invasion of privacy. Despite the occasional negative perception surrounding CCTV monitoring, this surveillance method can potentially improve the security of the property and the safety of its residents.

Have you ever considered installing CCTV cameras on your strata property? You may find yourself asking if your committee, body corporate, or owners corporation is considering installing CCTV cameras on your strata property. While the simple answer is yes, many complex laws govern the issue, and many moral factors may come into play.

In this article, we explore how CCTV cameras can help enhance security for residents and the steps that should be taken before installing them on a strata, owners corporation, or body corporate property.


Thinking about installing CCTV cameras on your strata, body corporate or owners corporation property? Here is what you need to consider before voting for or against it:

  1. Why your property may need CCTV cameras
  2. The laws governing CCTV cameras on your owners corporation or body corporate
  3. What to do when a lot owner wants to install CCTV cameras
  4. Common property locations for CCTV cameras
  5. Where CCTV cameras do not belong
  6. Steps committees should take before installing CCTV cameras

1. Why your strata, body corporate or owners corporation property may need CCTV cameras 

Suppose you’ve recently noticed CCTV cameras on your strata property or learned your body corporate, owners corporation, or strata committee is considering installing them. In that case, they are likely necessary for safety or security reasons.

CCTV cameras are an excellent public safety tool when used and managed correctly. While the prospect of having 24/7 surveillance on your property may feel like an invasion of privacy, they may be necessary for the following reasons:

  • If your property has experienced recent break-ins.
  • If there has been an increase in crime in your neighbourhood.
  • If there have been disputes involving threatening behaviour.
  • If your strata, owners corporation, or body corporate property does not have an adequate security system or by-laws and building rules.
  • If your property’s facilities or amenities experience frequent unauthorised usage.Each state also has similar yet different laws that may apply to CCTV surveillance on residential properties:

2. The laws that govern CCTV cameras on your strata, body corporate or owners corporation property

Home surveillance is a relatively new phenomenon with few specific laws. Instead, CCTV cameras are generally governed by several federal and state laws.

Interpreting the laws around CCTV surveillance in strata, body corporate or owners corporation properties can be tricky, so we recommend obtaining legal advice. As a general rule of thumb, however, owners, corporations, or body corporates can vote to have CCTV cameras installed on common property as long as they do not infringe on the privacy of owners and residents.

Importantly, if your property employs an onsite building or facilities manager, the Privacy Act 1988 may come into play. Each state also has similar yet different laws that may apply to CCTV surveillance on residential properties:


New South Wales

The Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW) governs using surveillance devices like CCTV cameras in New South Wales. While the law does forbid the recording of private conversations, it doesn’t appear to restrict the use of ‘optical surveillance devices’ as long as there is consent from those who will be recorded.

While strata laws in New South Wales do not cover security cameras specifically, it’s wise to pass a by-law regulating the device’s installation, maintenance, parameters and intended purpose before CCTV cameras are installed on common property.

For NSW strata plans, we recommend approaching a strata lawyer such as Kemps Petersons Legal for advice on tailored by-laws to help minimise the risks involved with the installation and management of CCTV cameras on your strata property.



If your body corporate is considering installing cameras to monitor common property it is most likely legal in Queensland, as long as the cameras are installed in compliance with surveillance laws.

According to the Queensland Criminal Code, it’s illegal to record people in places that are considered private (like bedrooms, bathrooms, balconies, and private living spaces) without consent. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the CCTV camera only captures footage of common areas within the body corporate property.



The Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic) governs the use of CCTV cameras in Victoria. As there are no corporation-specific laws on this topic, this piece of legislation may affect you the most of your owners corporation committee if you plan to install CCTV cameras in the common areas of an owners corporation property. It can be interpreted to clarify that only activities occurring outside a building or in a place where residents can reasonably expect to be observed by others can be filmed by CCTV cameras.


Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, the Surveillance Devices Act of 2007 outlines ground restrictions for using CCTV cameras on body corporate properties. Similarly to other Australian states, audio and video recordings of private matters are not permissible without explicit or implied consent, regardless of your participation in the conversation.



In Tasmania, the legal guidelines surrounding security cameras state that audio recording of private conversations is illegal, even when you’re actively partaking in the discussion. However, the Listening Devices Act of 1991 (Tas) does acknowledge exceptions to this rule, such as when there’s a significant risk of property damage or an immediate threat of grave violence. Alterations to recorded footage are prohibited, and access should be limited to essential personnel. Also, key staff should be trained in system operations, and a user manual should be available, as the person handing over the data could potentially have to testify about this process in court.


Related question from our StrataFAQ community

Q: One of our residents is concerned about CCTV cameras and filming children in the pool. Is it really an issue?

A: Where there are CCTV cameras in place, it’s important there’s clear signage saying so. Because CCTV involves legal aspects of privacy, there are many laws to conform to…

3. What to do when lot owners want to install CCTV cameras

Occasionally, an individual lot owner may request to install CCTV cameras to service their lot exclusively, whether to protect themselves from a break-in or increase surveillance due to a dispute. If this is the case, they may need to apply for a by-law and have it passed by the owners corporation, as the camera will likely need to be installed on common property. They may need to bear the expenses for the entire process and take responsibility for maintenance and repairs.

In recent years, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) has twice ruled against lot owners who installed CCTV cameras on common property without owners corporation or body corporate permission, resulting in the lot owners having to remove the cameras at their own expense. In this light, we always recommend obtaining explicit owners corporation consent before installing CCTV cameras that service an individual lot.

4. Common property locations for CCTV cameras

CCTV cameras on your strata, body corporate, or owners corporation property must be installed in areas that do not infringe on the privacy of owners and residents. Here are some potential locations for CCTV cameras on common property:

The entrance to a building or property

This will allow the entry and exit of visitors and unwanted parties to be documented. It's wise to have the camera point out to the entrance rather than point into the entry hallway to respect the privacy of owners and residents.

Outdoor entertainment areas

It's important to place cameras in a way that does not negatively impact the privacy of those who use the amenities. Pointing the cameras to the entrance may assist with tracking who uses the areas without infringing on privacy.

The parking lot

CCTV cameras are often installed in parking lots, especially if a strata, body corporate or owners corporation property experiences parking disputes. If this location is chosen by your strata committee or owners corporation, it may be best to point the cameras at the car park entrance identified problem areas or visitors parking spots.

The entrance to the property’s pool, gym or similar amenities

Ensuring the privacy of owners and residents who use these amenities is crucial. CCTV cameras should be placed in these locations to identify individuals who enter the areas without recording inside the amenities and facilities. Rules should also be established about supervision for minors who use these amenities.

PICA Group tip

Don’t forget to have signage displayed prominently to keep owners, residents and visitors aware that CCTV cameras are in use in your chosen areas.

5. Where CCTV cameras do not belong

Your property’s CCTV cameras should not be placed in locations that may cause privacy concerns for other residents. After all, no one likes feeling constantly watched while carrying out their daily routines at home.

  • Get the owners corporation or body corporate to vote on CCTV camera locations so the majority are comfortable with the chosen locations.
  • Avoid pointing cameras at bathrooms and windows.
  • CCTV cameras should be placed away from private windows, balconies, and courtyards.
  • Camera does not point towards amenities such as pools, gyms, and children’s play areas.

6. Steps strata committees should take before installing CCTV cameras

A strata, body corporate or owners corporation committee should take the following steps and invite all lot owners to be involved in the process to make sure they are comfortable with installing the CCTV cameras and what will be recorded.

Importantly, lot owners have the right to object to CCTV cameras’ installation and can vote against them if they wish. However, the majority’s decision will likely dictate whether the cameras can be installed.

Laws across the country prohibit the installation of CCTV cameras that affect privacy, so you should speak up if you feel the planned CCTV cameras may infringe on your privacy.


  • Step 1: Determine the optimal locations to install CCTV cameras and where they should be pointed to.
  • Step 2: Decide who will access the footage and where it will be stored securely. Generally, all owners should be able to access the footage if required. If your property has a building manager, your strata committee may be able to hand over the responsibility of reviewing and storing the footage to them.
  • Step 3: Agree on a process for obtaining access to the footage when required. The strata committee or your building manager may be able to help create this process and determine the best way forward.
  • Step 4: Draft and pass a by-law or building rule covering the installation of the security cameras, their maintenance, and the footage retrieval process. For those in New South Wales, we recommend drafting these by-laws by a strata law specialist like Kemps Petersons Legal to minimise risk and avoid room for misinterpretation. Lot owners should be given plenty of time to consider the proposed by-law or building rule, clarify queries and understand the process before taking it to the floor for a vote. Also, consider including directions for installing personal CCTV cameras on common property.
  • Step 5: Install signage advising of the CCTV cameras. To help comply with privacy laws and mitigate the risk of legal ramifications, displaying adequate signage that states the CCTV cameras are in operation is crucial.
  • Step 6: Engage a professional service provider to install the cameras. Your committee can work together to select the physical cameras, choose an installation provider, and install the devices.

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