Developers or members of body corporates can add to the value of a property by adding closed-circuit television cameras, but there are important legalities to consider.
When installing CCTV, Archers the Strata Professionals partner Grant Mifsud said camera usage must be responsible and operators need to keep in mind resident privacy.
“With apartments these days consisting of a diverse range of people living together who may not know each other, and particularly with the increase in families choosing high-rise buildings, the need for effective modern security systems is imperative,” Mr Mifsud said.
“CCTV cameras have proven to be highly successful in discouraging crime in apartment complexes and provide great assistance to police tracking down the perpetrators of any offences committed.
“Common disputes in apartment living such as damage by residents and guests to lifts and car park gates along with claims of personal injury from slips and falls are easily settled, as the CCTV footage can make it simple to confirm the facts.”
Body corporates that set up CCTV on common property should do so under appropriate body corporate legislation and other legislative requirements, Mr Mifsud said.
“Security should be the primary purpose when positioning CCTV cameras for surveillance purposes, with the focus on the main common property entrances and exits, or areas which may have been targeted by theft and damage previously such as storage cages and car parks,” he said.
“You also want to maximise the opportunity for the cameras to enable identification of any offenders or vehicle registration and ensure they are positioned out of reach from vandals.”
Cameras should also be placed in public areas that can be reasonably explained; to do otherwise and place cameras in private areas to spy on residents is considered illegal.
“If someone is in a private place, or there are people involved in a private act in circumstances where they would reasonably expect privacy, it is actually a criminal offence to film them without their consent,” Mr Mifsud said.
Mr Mifsud added that body corporates should ensure any footage recorded through CCTV can be considered to be a searchable body corporate record, and must adhere to the relevant state or territory’s legislation for record keeping requirements.
“Bodies corporate need to consider how they will manage the footage records if they are considering installation of CCTV in the building to ensure legislative compliance,” he said.