6. Steps strata committees should take before installing CCTV cameras
A strata 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 they will be recording.
Importantly, lot owners have the right to object to CCTV cameras’ installation and can vote against them if they wish. However, the decision of the majority 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: Consider where the CCTV cameras will be placed. Determine the optimal locations, and consider where the cameras will point to.
Step 2: Determine who will have access to the footage, and where the footage will be stored securely. As a rule of thumb, 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 the responsibility of reviewing and storing the footage over 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. Make sure this by-law is drafted by a strata law specialist like Kemps Petersons Legal so that it is watertight and leaves no room for misinterpretation. Lot owners should be given plenty of time to consider the proposed by-law, clarify queries and understand the process before taking the by-law to the floor for a vote. Also, consider including rules for installing personal CCTV cameras on common property.
Step 5: Install signage advising of the CCTV cameras. This step is crucial. To be compliant with privacy laws and mitigate the risk of legal ramifications, there must be adequate signage that states the CCTV cameras are in operation.
Step 6: Engage a professional service provider to install the cameras. Your strata committee can work together to select the physical cameras, choose an installation provider and have the devices installed.