97 Replies Latest reply: Jan 17, 2020 1:32 PM by psphoto RSS

    Re: Outside video security cameras

    psphoto Active Contributor

      Just had the following exchange with a newly booked guest. We, of course, disclose the fact that we have exterior security cameras in our contract.

       

      Here’s how that went :

       

      Guest:

      "Please refund my money. Uncomfortable with cameras. Cancel this reservation as soon as possible.


      Me:

      "Susan,
      Please be advised that the cameras at the property only look outward from the house at the surrounding property.....not towards the house in any way. They are there for your security, as well as ours.
      If you still wish to cancel your booking we can’t do it for you. You must initiate it yourself on the VRBO website under the My Bookings section.
      Thanks,
      Pete


      VRBO:

      "Janet canceled the booking
      Based on your refund policy, we sent Janet a refund of $XXX.XX and the booking has been removed from your calendar. No action is required.


      Guest:

      "Traveler's reason: I ran into suspicious activity


      Suspicious activity?


      I guess she won’t be going to anyones' house that might have a Ring or Nest doorbell, visit any shopping malls….or vacation in the UK or China !


      Actually, I'm kind of glad she cancelled....we'll book the time anyway, and people who are this "sensitive" usually aren't just single issue....

        • Re: Outside video security cameras
          u0999 Premier Contributor

          is that one of canned reasons they can choose? but overall, you dodged a bullet. Usually they are that nervous about cameras (or about signing agreement or about providing ID) when they have some "plans" that cameras would interfere with. Such as bringing un-permitted pets or extra people.. if not worse. There are cameras in malls, on store fronts, intersections,  hotels etc. So her excuse is bogus. We would not need cameras if people were not trying to circumvent and cheat every half a chance they got.

          • Re: Outside video security cameras
            green_mango Active Contributor

            That's one of many reasons I disclose cameras in several places in the listing - I don't want to catch bad behavior, I want to prevent guests from booking who may be intending to over occupy, break rules etc..  Also, the camera is there for SO many more reasons from UPS, to weather, to pest control - it's helpful to see when I have workers coming and going.  I do know there are a few guests who are great rule following guests who simply don't like cameras, and won't rent anywhere with them, but I just can't run our VR from 700 miles away without them. 

            • Re: Outside video security cameras
              wildiris Senior Contributor

              I'm about to write something that I know will make me unpopular with a lot of owners, but I feel the need to present an opposing viewpoint.  When I rent a vacation rental, I consider the vacation rental my "home away from home."  I'm a great guest.  I follow all the rules, I don't bring in extra people, I don't bring pets, I don't have parties, etc. etc.  So, I'm not at all concerned that an owner will view me violating any of his rules because I don't violate them.  However, I won't stay at a vacation rental that has security cameras.  I know that owners who have exterior cameras are watching guests from time to time or reviewing footage to make sure that their guests are "following the rules."  To be observed in this manner at my "home away from home" is, for me, quantitatively and qualitatively very different from a security camera in a shopping mall, or a hotel lobby or hallway, or walking down a street in London.  So, you consider me (and other guests like me) as being overly "sensitive."  That's fine.  I obviously wouldn't be a "good fit" at a vacation rental with exterior cameras.

               

              I can and do run my vacation rental extremely well from 1,000 miles away with no security cameras and have been doing so for more than 10 years.

                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                  u0999 Premier Contributor

                  I see your point, but.. YOU may be responsible and not bring 10 extra people or 5 dogs. but I, the(hypothetical owner with exterior cameras), don't know if you are or aren't. Because before you I had to deal with several others who DID try to over populate, bring several dogs or almost backed their trailer into my propane tank or left fire pit with fire burning unattended. So forgive me for airing on a side of Caution.

                   

                  For 10 years I owned a Honda Civic and for a small inexpensive automobile, its insurance was high. Why? I had no tickets, I do not speed, and I drive by the rules. But my insurance was high nevertheless. It is because that MANY who buy Civics tend to hotrod them and alter them and speed and race etc. I did not such things yet I paid higher premiums. This is similar to what is going with VRs and cameras. Good guests, unfortunately, have to put up with cameras (or move on- like you do) because just enough of questionable guests make cameras a necessity.

                   

                  P.S. I run 3 VRs form 700 mi away. and say 5 years ago I held your position. Now times-a-changing, especially with layers of anonymity brought on by OTAs and the type of entitled guests clientele they have started to attract, guests who think that reading (let alone abiding) by property rules is beneath them.. it is only a matter of time when something will happen to your property (I do not wish it, but it will) that will make you reconsider.

                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                    martyp Contributor

                    Interesting view point. I sort of understand; I was in that situation.  There was an obvious security camera at the front door and a sign that said that "Guests with pets will be evicted immediately, we have a security camera".  I felt feelings similar to yours.  However, I got over it in a few minutes.  Others might not get over it.

                     

                    I am thinking of installing a ring doorbell for different reasons.  My cleaning lady was remiss and did not move the trash can from the curbside.  It remained at the curbside for several weeks of no rentals and I got a nasty letter from my county saying that I was in violation of the County Short Term Rental Ordinance.

                    My front door faces the location of the trash can storage area and I can prevent this situation from happening with the ring doorbell.

                     

                    There is another reason for a security camera or at least an inside motion detector.  My rental is seasonal and has been vacant for months at a time.  There is currently a situation in West Oakland, California where a vacant home had been broken into and the trespassers are now refusing to leave. This has gone to court and the two women are continuing to occupy the house until evicted by court order.  I want to avoid this from happening by knowing immediately that a trespasser has illegally entered my home.

                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                      psphoto Active Contributor

                      wildiris,

                      If only all guests were like you....we wouldn't need security cameras.....but then we probably wouldn't need locks on the doors either!

                      Unfortunately, that's not the case, so we do what we have to do to protect our property and contents.

                      I don't consider having cameras that face away from the house towards publicly accessible areas any sort of invasion of privacy.

                      I consider it smart property protection...much the same as a Ring doorbell can provide.

                      With more and more package theft going on at people's front doors...I think well see more cameras installed ultimately.

                      The cameras I have installed have been quite helpful for guests as well.....letting them know where to park, where garbage cans should be placed for pickup, etc.

                      Pete

                      • Re: Outside video security cameras
                        scottr Active Contributor

                        I can and do run my vacation rental extremely well from 1,000 miles away with no security cameras and have been doing so for more than 10 years.

                        I said this also, until I installed a security camera.  In my case, the city pretty much mandated that I install a camera.  The city can fine up to $1,000 for: over-occupancy, parking violations, noise, garbage, etc.   The fine goes to the guest AND the owner, but the fine to the owner is waived if the owner self-reports.  So, the camera went in, and guests lie (a lot).

                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                          I Am also one who will NOT stay at a home with security cameras. I don’t break the rules, or violate anything that I have agreed to. However, I don’t want owners to see me coming in or going out, etc. My coming and going should be my own private business. In addition, it makes me wonder if the neighborhood is safe. For those of you that will state your neighborhood is safe, then you are are spying on your guests to see if they are doing something wrong. How many times do I read here and on other platforms about extra people, dogs, peeing outside in the yard, etc. etc.

                           

                          So whether a bad neighborhood, or spying....no thank you! For those that have cameras for remote sites when the property is vacant....understood, but otherwise cameras should be off when occupied.

                           

                          I Am with wildiris on this one.

                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                          psphoto Active Contributor

                          I should add....our property is an unfenced oceanfront home, and we have been broken into in the past.

                          The cameras aren't going anywhere!

                          Pete

                          • Re: Outside video security cameras
                            feibus Senior Contributor

                            You need to disclose the cameras before the guest gets to the contract.  Just saying that this would eliminate some problems before they become... um... guests.

                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                              linkybo Contributor

                              The guest was so sharp with their reply, I think they'd have more problems, even if there weren't cameras. If you realize after booking, there are cameras, just say "Oops, I missed the fact that you have cameras. I follow the rules but I prefer to have privacy during my vacation." None of this sassy "soon as possible" stuff.

                              We have a ring doorbell, disclosed, and some guest arrive and wave at it and say hi. Some don't even know it's a camera and they smoke by it (non-smoking property) and I've even had guests put their cigarettes out on it. I don't think they were trying to make some kind of anti-camera statement, they just didn't realize it was a camera. I usually just check it for middle of the night activity and see raccoons strolling by.

                                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                  psphoto Active Contributor

                                  I sensed a little bit of paranoia, IMHO.

                                  Or.....

                                  They could have just had second thoughts on the booking ( it was an IB ), and used the cameras as an excuse.

                                  They could have been planning on having more guests than we allow.

                                  We'll never know!

                                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                      wildiris Senior Contributor

                                      Or, they could be none of the above.  They could be like me and just not appreciate an owner watching and monitoring their behavior.

                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                          psphoto Active Contributor

                                          You are suggesting I am doing this.

                                          That's false, and to suggest that we who use security cameras are some sort of "peeping toms" is insulting.

                                          There are many owners who live adjacent to their rentals......would you not rent from them as well?

                                          They can just look out their windows and get a more complete view than I can of their rental property.

                                          As I said.....the cameras are there for security, and to correct any issues a guest might have concerning parking, garbage, etc.

                                          I rarely check the feed unless requested by the guests, the house is unoccupied, or notified by neighbors that a problem exists.

                                          I have better things to do with my time.

                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                              wildiris Senior Contributor

                                              As I stated in my original post in this thread, I knew that voicing my dislike of external video surveillance cameras at a vacation rental would not be popular with many other Community members.  Yes, some guests who don't want to stay at a vacation rental with external video cameras may not want to stay there because they intend to exceed your maximum occupancy, bring an unauthorized pet, have a party, or violate your rental rules in some other way.  The point that I was trying to make in each of my two earlier posts is that there are some travelers who are not rule-breaking, "rats," or "naughty vacationers" yet won't stay at a rental with external video cameras simply because it makes them uncomfortable.  They are people, like me, who don't like the idea of a vacation rental owner possibly watching them from time to time.  To answer your question, I won't stay at a vacation rental where the owner lives next door.


                                              You posted that you have three exterior security cameras at your vacation rental:  "one on the garage looking toward the driveway, one facing away from the front door, and one above the deck looking toward the beach."  Yet, the guest who cancelled because she is uncomfortable with these cameras must be "a little bit paranoia[d]."  Really?

                                                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                  psphoto Active Contributor

                                                  Yes, I do think they are being a little bit paranoid, since the area the cameras view is clearly visible by anyone who happens by, as well as our neighbors directly.

                                                  We are not "watching and monitoring their behavior" as you state....and suggests a certain level  of paranoia.

                                                  It's just not something we do...as I mentioned.


                                                  "Paranoia is a thought process that causes you to have an irrational suspicion or mistrust of others"


                                                  I think that represents some of what is going on here...

                                                   

                                                    • Re: Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                      wildiris Senior Contributor

                                                      You enter into a rental agreement with your guests that establishes rules for their behavior.  (As do I.)  But, you're nervous.  You don't trust that your guests will honor your rental agreement.  You worry that they will exceed your maximum occupancy.  You worry that they will have a party.  You worry that they will bring a pet.  (I understand. I'm nervous about every rental I undertake and I worry about these things, too.)  One of the reasons that you have installed the three video cameras is because you don't trust your guests. Re-read the definition of paranoia that you quoted.  It's the irrational suspicion or mistrust of others.  Do you think that your mistrust of your guests is irrational?  Do you think that you are paranoid?

                                                       

                                                      Try to put yourself in the shoes of this female guest who told you that she doesn't feel comfortable staying at your vacation rental because you have no less than three external video cameras at your beach house (one of which is angled at the yard and the beach).  From your description of the placement of the three cameras, it sounds as though you have the technological ability to watch almost every move she makes when she is in the yard outside the house.  She doesn't know you and doesn't know how you will use this ability.  She doesn't know how frequently you will or will not check the cameras to see what she's doing.  She doesn't know if you're only going to look at the video feed when she first arrives to see how many people are in the rental party, or whether you'll be "checking her out" while she sunbathes in the yard in her bikini or walks to and from your house to the beach.  You seem to have a double-standard:  It's rational for you to mistrust your guests, but irrational for a guest to mistrust you.  Ergo, this guest must either be paranoid or up to no good!

                                                       

                                                      As owners, we seem to forget that renting a vacation home can be nerve-racking for guests as well ourselves.  Each party to the rental transaction, both owner and guest, has to have a certain amount of blind trust in the other.  Out of curiosity, how many times have you rented someone else's vacation rental?  Have you ever had any problems as a renter?  I can't remember how many vacation homes I've rented from other people - it's probably around 20 different rentals.  Most of my vacation rental experiences as a guest have been great.  But not all of them.  I've had two really poor rental experiences.  I had an owner cancel my reservation 30 days before it was to begin because his "family wanted to use it that week." (We had purchased our plane tickets and couldn't find another rental at that late date.  We stayed in a hotel.)  The other was a rental with an on-site caretaker who lived in an apartment attached to the house.  She showed up the first morning of our stay at 9:00 am and literally screamed at me from outside the house that I was wasting electricity because I had left the outside lights on all night.  (The switch was broken and the lights couldn't be turned off.)  It was this rental experience that demonstrated to me that having someone watching my family and me (or wondering whether or not they were watching us) does not make for a pleasant, relaxed vacation.

                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                          psphoto Active Contributor

                                                          Actually, I generally DO trust my guests.

                                                          But I also have to balance that trust with being a good neighbor to others in my area, follow local ordinances, and protect my property, and I don't think that's in any way irrational, as you describe it.

                                                          For a relatively small sum of money, I am handing over the keys to a property in it's entirety worth in excess of 3/4 of a million $$$

                                                          Call it trust but verify if you want. I think just the PRESENCE of the cameras encourages good behavior by those who might try something "off the books"

                                                          The fact is.....anyone who does anything outside my house in clear view of the public or my neighbors has essentially abdicated their claim to privacy.

                                                          As mentioned...I have no fences, and the beachside of the property can't be modified in any way past my attached deck.

                                                          If you want to sunbathe in the sand at the rear of my house ( not recommended really...we are on the Oregon Coast after all! ) don't be shocked and appalled if you see someone with binoculars or even a hand held camera pointed at you "checking you out". That's just the way it is if you are visible to the general public.

                                                          Act and dress appropriately would be my recommendation....since anyone who sees you could put you on YouTube!

                                                          And in the case of my cameras....I have an actual economic and security interest here.

                                                          Trust works both ways.....I trust that you will follow the rules and take care of my property, and you have to trust that I don't sit for hours watching your comings and goings on my security cameras.

                                                          I noted you had to stay in a hotel when a vacation rental was cancelled on you.....did you ask if they had cameras?

                                                          Just about ALL hotels have them....many even looking over the pool sunbathing areas.

                                                          Do you refuse to stay at hotels that have security cameras?

                                                          If you don't...then I think you are presenting a double standard.

                                                          • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                            u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                            There  is " the way things should be" (i.e ideal world) and " the way things actually are" ( the real world). In the ideal world guests and owners both abide by rental agreements, owners deliver on promised accommodation and gusts do not try to charge back just because they saw a dead died mosquito on the floor. Also in ideal world owners do not need to spell out every possible scenario of what guests can do dumb, destructive, dangerous or bothersome because ideal guests would never do any of such things.

                                                             

                                                            Ridge View Lodge Autumn(1).jpg

                                                            Now, in the real world, no owner can spell out every possible dumb thing that is done by guests in the rental agreement. Moreover, even if an owner could, guests would not read or abide. For instance, I could not foresee some renter bringing a trailer and backing it within one foot of my 250 Gal propane tank in the grass even though I have PLENTY of gravel and paved parking. can we say DANGEROUS? Could I foresee it? No.

                                                             

                                                            Thankfully, I saw that display of dumb on camera, texted the primary renter and asked them to move the trailer. The propane tank in question is in white cylinder on the left. Now you tell me what was the need to back  a trailer there. There is plenty of parking on the back end of cabin, and on the other side. I rest my case.

                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                Exactly!

                                                                Did I mention the guest who had a friend back his Motor Home over my septic tank drainage field....even though it was cited in the contract as something to never do? I sometimes feel that my House Rules and what guests do is an Arms Race!

                                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                              twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                              Paranoia is a thought process that causes you to have an irrational suspicion or mistrust of others"

                                                               

                                                               

                                                              I Don’t think you are being fair with this statement. Just read what owners write about guests and what they watch through their security cameras. If I want to sit out on a deck and sip my cup of tea in my robe I don’t want an owner turning on a camera to see if I am behaving!!!

                                                                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                  psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                  We have to enforce specific rules regarding stays such as noise, parking, maximum occupancy, etc.

                                                                  Our cameras are there to help enforce that, and to protect our property

                                                                  Do you complain to the hotel you're staying at about their security cameras?

                                                                  How about the stores you shop at, or even the church you might attend?

                                                                  Or the neighbors ?

                                                                  Or anyone who happens to walk on the beach path next to our deck?

                                                                  I think your expectation of privacy in a publicly visible area is unreasonable.

                                                                  Cameras are everywhere that have potential security issues....including valuable short term rentals.

                                                                  And....do you really think I want to watch you in your robe sipping tea?

                                                                   

                                                                  I think not.

                                                                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                      twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                      My expectation is that I can see a neighbor, etc. I can NOT see if a video is peering at me. I am not accusing YOU specifically, but so many owners write on this and more specifically a facebook site how they spy on their guests, even taking pictures of them and posting them. Yes, these guests are acting out, but it goes back to vetting your guests as best as you can and then trusting that they will be respectful of your property. Have I had guests who would not be invited back ,,,,,absolutely....but unless a neighbor calls me because it is an issue, I have no knowledge of their coming and going. As for hotels, NO, I have no privacy and that is why I choose most of the time to stay in Vacation Rentals. We want to hold ourselves out as different than the local hotel/motel and this is one way that I choose VR’s over them, unless there is no other choice. I guess I wouldn’t feel so strongly about my privacy if so many owners were not writing about all the guests that they have ”seen” doing things wrong....how is that possible if they are not looking at their video cameras periodically during their stay? Again, not for me, I leave the Vr’s that I stay in as clean (including vacuuming) or cleaner than I find them. Just who I am!

                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                          psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                          "... but it goes back to vetting your guests as best as you can and then trusting that they will be respectful of your property."

                                                                          If only it were that easy....

                                                                          As u0999 noted...."There  is " the way things should be" (i.e ideal world) and " the way things actually are"

                                                                          As mentioned before....trust works both ways. I trust guests will take care of my property, and they trust I'm not 'creeping" on them.

                                                                          It's transactional, and I never hide the fact that I have have external cameras.

                                                                          This is the first guest that's had a problem with the cameras.

                                                                          As others have noted....I think I might have dodged a bullet with this potential guest.

                                                                          They described the reason for cancellation as "suspicious activity" Really?

                                                                          You can have all the privacy you want ( less than you think you have, actually ) at your own home.

                                                                          You have to accept a limited amount of external monitoring at mine .....I am giving you the keys to my house.

                                                                          I'm sure hotels wish they didn't need cameras, but they've come to the conclusion that they're necessary.

                                                                          I have too.



                                                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                              wildiris Senior Contributor

                                                                              psphoto wrote:

                                                                               

                                                                              As mentioned before....trust works both ways. I trust guests will take care of my property, and they trust I'm not 'creeping" on them.

                                                                              You don't really trust that guests will take care of your property.  If you did, you wouldn't have three cameras trained on the grounds 24/7.  But -  bless your heart, you expect them to trust that you aren't really watching them on the cameras.  And evidently most of them do. 

                                                                                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                  psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                  As I mentioned before....it's "trust but verify"

                                                                                  I trust 98% of my guests, and they trust me......it's the 2% that cause problems that are the issue.

                                                                                  I think most guests realize this, and accept the presence of security cameras, as they do in many of the places they visit.

                                                                                  Does having a local police force mean you don't "trust" your neighbors?

                                                                                  I think not.....but you know you need them, right?

                                                                                  Hence my cameras, and hotel cameras worldwide.

                                                                                  Do hotels "trust" their guests?

                                                                                  Do stores "trust" shoppers?

                                                                                  Generally yes....but they "verify" with cameras too.

                                                                                  We don't live in a perfect world.

                                                                                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                      twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                      I Don’t have the same expectation of privacy in public places, that I do in my home or my VR. If you want to have cameras in your home that is up to you, but not everybody who would refuse to stay in your home, like wildiris and myself wouldn’t stay there because of some devious thoughts we have about breaking the rules in any way, shape or form. My privacy is my single most treasured right here in the USA and I am thankful for it. I don’t think we need to get into why the police exist, etc. We are talking about some people who just would like their complete privacy, no cameras and that they are not ALL planning to break the rules. We are all different in our preferences.

                                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                          Just to add I wouldn’t like to be next door to the owner of a VR either for the same reason. So, I suppose what a couple of us are trying to say is that as grown adults we just want our privacy at all times without being monitored.

                                                                                          • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                            psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                            To be clear....I have no cameras IN MY HOME.

                                                                                            They are external cameras pointed AWAY from my home at areas that are CLEARLY VISIBLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

                                                                                            You have complete privacy inside my home...please don't conflate things!

                                                                                            Anyone walking or driving by my house can see you if you are outside.

                                                                                            You HAVE no privacy outside....there is no fenced yard.

                                                                                            If I did, in fact have a fenced yard, the cameras would be placed in a way that excluded the enclosed area, since an expectation of privacy would exist there.

                                                                                            There is no expectation of privacy in an open driveway & unfenced front yard, or open beach area abutting my property.

                                                                                            Your expectations are a fantasy, unfortunately.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            More Info:

                                                                                            "How does one establish whether, in a given instance, one's expectation of privacy is "reasonable"? The criteria are as follows: 1) general legal principles; 2) the vantage point from which the surveillance is carried out; 3) the degree of privacy afforded by certain buildings and/or places; and 4) the sophistication and invasiveness of the surveillance technology employed.

                                                                                            1. General legal principles. The expectation of privacy is not reasonable if the behaviors or communications in question were knowingly exposed to public view. Neither the simple desire for privacy, nor the fact that one took steps to obtain it, entitles one to reasonably expect it. For example, even if one set up roadblocks, hung "no trespassing" signs and moved one's house back into the woods, one might still be surveilled from the air without one's Fourth Amendment rights being violated. And yet, as the court stated in People v. Camacho (2000) 23 Cal.4 th 824, 835, "we cannot accept the proposition that [the] defendant forfeited the expectation his property would remain private simply because he did not erect an impregnable barrier to access."

                                                                                            2. Vantage point. The expectation of privacy is not reasonable if there exists a vantage point from which anyone, not just a police officer, can see or hear what was going on and if this vantage point is or should be known or "reasonably foreseen" by the person being surveilled. If such a vantage point exists in theory, the police can actually use another vantage point from which to conduct their surveillance, because what matters is the expectation of privacy, which becomes "unreasonable" if any vantage point exists (!). But the police cannot use a vantage point if they have no legal right to take or occupy it. The police cannot commit trespassing; they haven't if they have taken up a vantage point along a normal access route, an "open field," or a common area."

                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                I think that we could argue endlessly about what constitutes privacy with a definition. I am not talking about Webster definitions, or legal definitions......more this.....


                                                                                                My own preference is that I not stay at a place that has security cameras, unless there are no other options. My point, once again is...................we are all different and just because some of us don’t like cameras does not mean that we will treat your home with contempt, abuse, rule breaking, or anything but the utmost respect.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                I have nothing to hide, it is just MY preference! I am sure you have some preferences that may differ from others???

                                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                    psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                                    "we are all different and just because some of us don’t like cameras does not mean that we will treat your home with contempt, abuse, rule breaking, or anything but the utmost respect."

                                                                                                    Agreed, and I never suggested that. I'm merely laying out the case for why those of us who DO choose to have external cameras made that decision, as well as examples of when certain things occurred that validated our decisions.

                                                                                                    The Homeowners are the ones that bear the burden for damage to their property or ability to rent. The guest is a temporary tenant who gets to walk away from the home after their stay. We are just protecting out significant interests in a manner that we consider to be unobtrusive and non-invasive.

                                                                                                    You obviously view things differently.

                                                                                                    What we AREN'T doing is assuming all guests are bad or destructive any more than your local police force does of it's citizenry.


                                                                                                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                      u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                      isn't that great that we all have choices? You have a choice not to stay in a house with cameras outside (and I emphasize =- outside). My choice is to have cameras on my VR outside. They are disclosed, disclosures cannot be missed, and anyone who feels like yourself is free to move on and rent elsewhere. It is just has been my observation that only minority of people (like yourself) are bothered by cameras just because of privacy issues (although in my particular case, decks are very visible from the street, so I cannot see how that even can be a privacy issue).  The majority of the people ( and there has been only a couple) that purportedly bothered by them are only so because they thought that could sneak in extra people or vehicles or pets, and realizing that cameras are there and there is a distinct possibility that owner will catch them in the act of INTENTIONALLY violating the agreement and rules. That realizations makes them pause and back out. Which is a VERY good side effect of having cameras - they make my VRs unattractive to those who are planning to violate my rules (i.e deceive me). WIN-WIN.

                                                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                          Do you know for a fact that these few were bothered because they wanted to violate your rules or was it perhaps like me they would rather stay where there are no cameras???  How would you know why they are choosing to pass on your property because of the cameras??  It may just be a personal choice

                                                                                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                              u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                              Just by things they let out in communications. Also when I mention that "I have caretaker who lives on the same street a few doors down" and they choose not to book or cancel. If they were all up and up, why would they care that I have a caretaker living on same street? I am really ( I mean it - really!) looking at it as win-win. They moved on, I do not have to deal with a problem such as having to confront someone about their unpermitted pet or overpopulation and potentially to have to fight a charge back later if I had to terminate their stay. I am sure there are few that are great guests and are just opposed to EXTERIOR cameras purely out of privacy principles, but thankfully, I do not need to capture every last potential customer to sustain my business. They  can move on and find another place that sits them better. And I can have my (relative) peace of mind.

                                                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                              scowol Active Contributor

                                                                              psphoto   So the announcement of cameras definitely made your guest uncomfortable, so I'm curious what your rental agreement says?   In this post, you wrote "We disclose the fact that we have exterior security cameras...."   Is it vague or descriptive?

                                                                               

                                                                              If your contract doesn't explain the purpose (e.g., house security) and doesn't elaborate on the location of the camera(s) and what is/isn't viewable, it may make a guest jump to conclusions that you have cameras in the back yard and other areas where guests may expect to not be monitored.  They might believe that they will be watched while grilling on the BBQ, swimming, sunbathing, etc.  So you might want to consider spelling out in specific detail so that guests can feel comfortable.

                                                                               

                                                                              While almost all owners won't invade expected areas of privacy, we've all seen in the news of airbnb hosts having hidden cams in decoy fixtures (there was the one host who had a fake smoke detector which was a hidden cam).   https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/hotels/2019/04/05/airbnb-removes-host-after-family-finds-hidden-camera-their-renta…  Based on this, some guests may be understandably uncomfortable and want to know that they will have privacy in expected areas.  So while we are responsible, decent owners, we have the responsibility to communicate to guests that we are responsible, decent owners. 

                                                                               

                                                                              In my RA, I spell out that there are no cameras inside the house and no cameras facing the fenced in private garden, pool and yard areas.  I do spell out that a street-facing Ring camera is at the front door, and that its primary purpose is security of the house. I've had zero questions or objections (guests need to initial next to this on my RA)

                                                                                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                  hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                                                                  Great info

                                                                                  But I smell rats

                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                    psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                    I mention the 3 video cameras in both the Property description and the contract that is signed online ( each page needs an initial, and a signature at the end )

                                                                                    In the description:

                                                                                    We have 3 exterior video cameras facing away from the house, one on the garage looking toward the driveway, one facing away from the front door, and one above the deck looking toward the beach.

                                                                                    In the contract:

                                                                                    X. Video Security : There are 3 exterior video security cameras on-site, one over the back deck facing the beach grass, and one facing the gravel driveway, and one facing away from the front door for security purposes. There are no other cameras on our property. At no time are you permitted to disable this camera or its internet connection in the house.

                                                                                    Our property has no fences, as we are oceanfront, so anything that happens can be seen by anyone nearby, or our next door neighbors.

                                                                                    This is the first time anyone has even mentioned concern with the cameras, so the vast majority of people staying obviously have no issues.

                                                                                    We even shut down the cloud based capture when guests are staying, since we have no need to record their activities.

                                                                                    FYI...we are using a Blink XT2 weatherproof battery operated system ( 2 year battery life ) with free cloud storage, if anyone would like to know.


                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                    johnmgoing New Member

                                                                                    psphoto - I use a Ring doorbell as well and have not added language to my Rental Agreement.  Would you mind sharing what you are using? Did you also add anything to your VRBO listing?

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Thanks for posting - very helpful!

                                                                                      • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                        psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                        Here's what is in the contract:

                                                                                        X. Video Security : There are 3 exterior video security cameras on-site, one over the back deck facing the beach grass, and one facing the gravel driveway, and one facing away from the front door for security purposes. There are no other cameras on our property. At no time are you permitted to disable this camera or its internet connection in the house.

                                                                                          • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                                                                            And its also on HomeAways site too?

                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                                Yep. On the Vrbo website in the description, and in the contract they sign.

                                                                                                There are stickers in the entry door window stating that there are Blink video cameras installed.

                                                                                                We don't hide them ....they are plainly visible and verifiably pointed away from the house.

                                                                                                Having visible cameras helps keep anyone even thinking of breaking in have some pause.

                                                                                                I'm surprised of the number of vacation homes that DON'T use them...frankly, since you don't even need a power supply to them anymore.

                                                                                                Only a running internet connection, and the cloud storage is free.

                                                                                          • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                            hickmanhideaway Contributor

                                                                                            We specifically state, in the description and elsewhere, that there is a camera, video and audio, at the front of the house facing the driveway and front deck only. Several guests wave to it when they arrive. And I even had a young man, about 15 years old, who stood on the deck as they left and thanked us for such a great time and said he really, really wanted to come back sometime.

                                                                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                              hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                                                                              I smell a naughty vacationer.....


                                                                                              Run Forest Run and never look back.

                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                                                                                We have a ring doorbell. We also have a keyless lock that we can program specific codes for each guest, for our housekeepers, etc.  Our property manager/aka Mr. Gadget/aka my husband, has an app that allows him to monitor the HVAC system, gives him tones whenever the front door is opened or attempted to be opened, and also gets alerts whenever anything/anyone passes by the ring doorbell.  The rest of us ask him to turn all his alerts off! 

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                  There's really only two instances when he looks at the video on Ring, one would be when we do not have a guest, are not expecting a guest, and yet the ring alert goes off.  The way our front door is positioned, up on a second floor and with only one owner on the same floor (who doesn't live locally and doesn't rent out) there is really no reason why an unexpected person should ever be walking by our door.  (though one time a bee set off the ring!) 

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Why do I mention all of this?  Our previous housekeeping company.  The cleaners would walk up to the door, enter the code incorrectly, try the door, and Ops manager would get error message alerts that someone was attempting to enter.  That's the second reason he'd check the video.  Sure enough, there would be two women there to clean the condo, but neither of them could access the door lock.  So, he'd speak thru ring and explain how to open the door.  Sometimes he'd used google translate to explain in Spanish.   One day, our housekeeper fired us, completely unexpectedly.  Why?  She accused us of spying on her housekeepers, and it said was very creepy and unsettling. 

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Some people just have a problem with this sort of stuff. 

                                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                    psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                                    I also have an electronic Schlage door lock connected with my thermostat to a Samsung Smartthings Wifi Hub ( it's a z-wave system ) that lets me know via an App when people come and go, lets me unlock/lock the door remotely, and generate and delete door access codes.It's come in handy when guests leave and forget to lock the door or leave the thermostat too high. It also lets me know when the cleaning crew arrives and leaves.

                                                                                                    No complaints yet.....in fact a few guests have asked where I got it!

                                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                    vrdoctor Senior Contributor

                                                                                                    I would be careful about telling guests that the security cameras are for their security/protection.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Here is the verbiage that we have in our rental agreement:

                                                                                                    The Premises are equipped with an alarm system and exterior security cameras.  Cameras are installed primarily as a theft deterrent and to avoid police dispatch for false alarms.  Security cameras are not monitored and should not be relied on for personal safety.  No cameras are placed inside, or with any view of the interior of the property.  Alarm system and security cameras may be used to verify compliance with rental policies.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    They are there for your security, as well as ours.
                                                                                                      • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                        psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                                        I don't think the fact that I say " They are there for you security as well as ours" implies complete protection, any more than having a lock on the front or back door does.

                                                                                                        Even unmonitored cameras provide a significant measure of protection as a deterrent against break-ins.

                                                                                                        Some people just use fake alarm stickers for this purpose.

                                                                                                        We make no statement that we are recording activity ( which we aren't if guests are there ), or provide complete security protection.

                                                                                                      • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                        familyfirst Contributor

                                                                                                        Last summer we had a group of single people who rented our home. Inadvertently, one of the renters sent me an email asking how she can get more transportation to the house for the guests who are arriving the second day of the rental...the primary guest told me that everyone was coming on the first day. LOL. I quickly sent an email to the primary and she lied to me but I could tell she was caught off guard. The next day, she called me saying that so and so is coming so that there would be an extra guest. I told her that I needed a check in the next 48 hours via Priority Mail, (I'm not paying credit card fees) Once I told her that our staff is very familiar with WHO is staying, she panicked and asked if we have cameras! Since we are in a gated community, she knew that we had a security camera at the gate entrance but she was worried since my staff does come to the house for cleaning, and other items that we would find out. I would agree that cameras or the idea that staff does come to the house during the week is very important.

                                                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                          bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                                                                          Well,... thanks (I think) for the longest forum thread of 2020

                                                                                                           

                                                                                                          I JUST got wifi at my cabin thanks to the rural connectivity initiative... someone actually installed a high speed node about 400 yards from my driveway so for $75/month I decided to get it.  I fought it at first since I market my cabin as a place to unplug but, let's face it, when I am there I need to be able to reply to guest inquiries, etc. so I did it.  And, I have to admit, being able to stream Punisher episodes at night isn't the worst thing that ever happened to me.

                                                                                                           

                                                                                                          Since I now have wifi, I can now consider installing security cameras and was just about to do it when this thread started.  Now I am as confused as a bat in room full of chandeliers...

                                                                                                           

                                                                                                          Since I believe in beta testing everything first, i installed a temporary camera this weekend.  I must admit that I love being able to see what's going on there when it is UNOCCUPIED.  It's really great.  Wonderful peace of mind.

                                                                                                           

                                                                                                          No replies are necessary... I think it's all been said above somewhere.  Just wanted to thank the group for their thoughtful opinions on both sides of the issue.

                                                                                                           

                                                                                                          I am left with the sense that I may install some for when the cabin is not rented and take them down/disable them when it is.  Not sure how to manage that but I am a fan of having my cake and eating it too when I can.

                                                                                                          • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                            georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                                                                                                            I think it should be an absolute Requirement that every STR property anywhere in the world should have to have exterior operating cameras.

                                                                                                            It is for the safety of the property, the safety of the visitor, and kindness to the neighbors.

                                                                                                            A side benefit of a camera is that it insures adherence to property rules.

                                                                                                            It would stop or diminish most of the party issues happening in the news, and the overoccupancy, and the sneaking in of pets.

                                                                                                            Hotels have staff on site; free standing homes dont. This is a scenario wrought with danger.

                                                                                                            Towns and cities are shutting down str due to lousy renters and irresponsible owners.

                                                                                                            Exterior cameras could be a non-issue if it were brought to the forefront by the sites as a llisting requirement, and then any traveler who is uncomfortable with cameras would, and should, choose another way to travel with privacy if there is such a way.

                                                                                                            I believe that any owner with a free standing property who doesnt have cameras is a risk to the rest of us, and is an irresponsible owner.

                                                                                                            You can all go ahead and attack me and present your logic, but I will never change my belief on this topic.

                                                                                                            Have STR home > take responsiblity and have exterior cameras. Please. For the rest of us.

                                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                                We have had this conversation before and we will never agree. this is my 10th year in VR business and while I have had a couple of guests I would not want back again, I still don’t want the ability to ”see” who is coming and going and that is what I constantly see on threads. checking cameras to “see” how many guests, if they are sneaking in a pet, having a party, etc. etc. I don’t want to stay in a home that is monitoring my comings and goings and yes we all know owners are alerted every time they come and go. Also, I know it is human nature (I would be doing the same thing) to ”look” every time I was alerted to just make sure all was good each time. I would not like the feeling of spying on my guests either.

                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                Then okay lets say you find that guests have 5 instead of 4, or a pet when none was mentioned do you confront them, do you ask them to leave, do you let it go and grind inside of your being the whole time they are there without saying anything? Police are not going to make someone leave for having an additional person or a dog, that would be up to you. That’s a whole other issue, others even talk about allowing it because they don’t want a bad review, so there’s that too. Along with my privacy, I like my peace and quiet and trust my guests to do what they say they are going to do. The old saying ignorance is bliss is true in many cases. I want to enjoy my life and not just invest every moment in worrying about what is going on at my home every moment someone stays.Yes, I have a large investment, Yes, I want honest people and for the most part have had that. To say someone is irresponsible for trusting other people to do what they say they will do I think is a bit unfair. I would never say you are irresponsible for choosing to operate your VR in the manner that best fits you and your family just because I believe in a different manner of operation. That is your preference, your choice, your home. When it gets to the point that I have more poor guests than trustworthy ones......I will be one owner who decides to just use my VR for my own personal use or sell it.

                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                I think we are all different and need to accept those differences. My comment on this thread is that “I” would prefer to not stay in a property with cameras if I can help it, as I like my privacy, but that I would not only not break any rules but leave the home in same way I found it including some cleaning, so to assume that everyone who does not like camera’s is a rule breaker is just not an accurate statement of everyone. Some have implied that is not their thinking, but just read the thread again, and others on facebook.....that is exactly what owners think. Comments of “dodged a bullet” etc speak directly to that thinking.

                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                Just to add, I would actually like it if there was a filter for properties with or without cameras as I would certainly use it to filter out the homes with cameras, instead of having to read the listing.

                                                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                    bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                                                                                    Sometimes ignorance is bliss... and this is certainly true in the STR market.

                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                    In my mind every guest is Ken and Barbie... when I greet them in reality... let's just say I am always happier with my prior mental picture

                                                                                                                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                      u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                      It does not affect you ... until (God forbid) it happens to / in  YOUR property. It is not about 5 people vs 4. It is about preventing "party houses" when dishonest renters say that are renting for 4 grandmas to have their book club getaway and instead 50 people show up to throw a wild party. I am sure most owners have read about recent unfortunate tragic events. In that case, guests said they were renting for a family reunion - they lied. This may not be an issue if your VR is surrounded by neighbors on all sides - someone will see something and call authorities if things get out of hand. My cabin is on over 3 wooded acres, lot above us up the street is empty (more woods), so if there are bad apples, chances are they will not be seen and reported in time. I see it as "better safe than sorry". It is unfortunate that it may give pause to some renters who are simply privacy-minded. But since we have no crystal balls and KNOW what is in the renter's minds, and since "bad apples" (thanks to Airbnb's veil of privacy ) discovered that they can rent properties with virtually no verification or repercussions for all kind of nefarious purposes (from running d r  u g rings to escorts to pay-at-the-door wild parties) we, as responsible owners, have to do everything we can to proactively prevent damage or worse. If someone's (often perceived) privacy becomes casualty of that approach, then  so be it. 

                                                                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                          wildiris Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                          Have you had a "bad apple" guest who you observed hosting a party at your rental (or had more people staying, or brought a pet without permission, etc.)?  Did you call the guest and tell them that the party had to end immediately, or the extra guests had to leave, or the dog had to leave, etc.?  Did the "bad apple" guest actually obey your instructions by phone?

                                                                                                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                              u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                              I saw people sneaking not one but TWO dogs. Unfortunately we had different camera then and I only saw footage after they left. Actually since we got new camera system in and I made sure to PROMINENTLY disclose the presence of cameras in multiple places (description, rental agreement, reply-to-inquiry email), it seems such attempts have been not happening.

                                                                                                                                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                  wildiris Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                  So, you haven't had any experience with talking with "bad apple" guests and enforcing rental agreement violations that you have observed with your video cameras.  The value for you has been your perception of the deterrence effect that video cameras may have.

                                                                                                                                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                      twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                                                      This is a GREAT question....so how do owners with cameras deal with the rule-breaking guests after they have arrived? Or is it just a deterrent alone?

                                                                                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                          u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                                          I can answer that. One owner I personally know in my market caught people on camera sneaking in a dog into her no-pet rental. She called them and reminded that per rental agreement no dogs are allowed and provided nearest boarding facility address to them. They could not deny because she had snapshots of them arriving and walking the dog on the leash into the house.  after being confronted they apparently took the dog to the boarding facility and the rest of the stay went on.

                                                                                                                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                              twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                                                              Well, that owner had someone who didn’t get defensive and act accordingly, which is a good thing. BUT; what if someone stated that while they understand they shouldn’t have a pet, they really didn’t like being spied on and so they would prefer to leave and find something else and want a refund.....OR what if there was no openings at a pet boarding place. What happens when there is another guest above what the owner expected? Ask them to leave, charge more, etc.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Regardless of what happens in the beginning of the reservation (at entrance) it has now set the tone for the rest of the visit. So, even if they obey and follow your rules, do they write a nit picky review about other unrelated things?

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              There is a whole host of questions that go with confronting guests that while should obey the rules....they are there now and now there is a conflict to be dealt with.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              It would be interesting to find how many guests return to properties with cameras? Just curious?

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Edited for a correction/clarification

                                                                                                                                                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                  u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                                                  Then it would be good riddance, bye bye. I would not WANT the rule breakers and deceivers to return, are you kidding me? So that they can bring 3 dogs next time? I do not know who would be that desperate to get a rule-breaking deceptive guest back. I sure would not. not only that , but I would warn other owners about the violator.

                                                                                                                                                  P.S there is nothing for the owner to be "defensive" about, it was not the owner who violated the contract but the guests. owner has a full and complete right to point that to the guest and take action.

                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                      twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                                                                      Maybe I wasn’t making my point very well! I too would not want a rule breaker in my home. So it is two fold question.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      1. The confrontation of rules being broken

                                                                                                                                                      2. Just how many people who followed the rules who felt uncomfortable with the cameras decide not to return.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      So, I agree with you......nobody wants a guest who would willing disregard owners rules.

                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                          u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                                                          on # 2. I know of one for a fact. They technically did not violate any WRITTEN rule (as it was written at the time, since updated, but heck - can an owner put every possible stupid action as a "don't do it" rule? Not possible). That was the one that almost backed his trailer into 250 Gal propane tank full of propane. They left me a 4 * because of their discomfort with camera. Oh well, they chose to back into the grass (even though I have 4-5 paved parking spots and 2 gravel parking spots - absolutely no need to drive trailer on my lawn) and on top of that, almost backed trailer into propane tank. I am sorry about their discomfort with me catching trailer on camera close to propane tank (danger) - but safety wins.

                                                                                                                                                          They can puff and pout about it, but the fact is, it was them doing downright dumb (also unnecessary, possibly dangerous and disrespectful) stuff - not me! No I do not want them back, they can move on to some other property without cameras where they can drive on lawns and almost-back into propane tanks.

                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                                                                          I Was only referring to the guest, not the owner????

                                                                                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                                                    No. The value is GUEST'S perception that we have cameras and that if they try to violate rules, they will likely be caught (coupled with repercussions spelled out in RA). We had one camera broken for months and I still had all camera disclosures etc and emphasized that we have cameras. They did not know if my camera is working or not, but it is deterrent to those who intend to violate occupancy or pet rules. As I said, win-win.

                                                                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                                                                Just a side note and I know you and I have been in contact off the forum (remember the moose package you sent me) so please take this as another perspective from someone who would LOVE your property for a visit.

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                You stated that your property is very remote and that the street including the lot across is wooded. So, there would be an expectation of privacy at your location if there were no cameras. I mean think about it.....if someone stood in the street 24/7 staring at your home don’t you think that at some point the police would be called? We can say there is no expectation of privacy because of streets, neighbors, passerby’s, but the reality is cameras are 24/7 viewing and I think anyone would be creeped out if a neighbor stood on their deck, road, beach whatever just staring at a VR 24/7.

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                I understand remote sites need cameras for when they are vacant, but when guests arrive, my opinion (and I know we won’t agree) cameras should be off.

                                                                                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                    psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                    Just to be clear...again.

                                                                                                                                                    No one is suggesting having cameras pointed AT THE HOUSE.

                                                                                                                                                    We are all talking about cameras facing AWAY from the house!

                                                                                                                                                    And no one is staring at their property 24/7 here....or suggesting that.

                                                                                                                                                    Your analogy is specious.

                                                                                                                                                      • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                        u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                                                        exactly. If it can be seen from a public street, it is not private.

                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                                                                          I Am not sure why you are being so defensive. I understand the cameras are directed away from the home, but some cameras have the ability to record 24/7 and therefore it would be available for an owner to review at their discretion anytime they desire.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          My preference is no cameras, yours is cameras. I don’t think that I should silenced or told my voice is specious because I disagree with those that have cameras. Your choice, your property......my choice for my property.

                                                                                                                                                            • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                              twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                                                                                              Again, it is a simple preference and the definition of privacy is different for each person, not something that is defined by the law, Webster, or even another person. It is purely a preference.

                                                                                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                                psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                You made an analogy here:

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                ."if someone stood in the street 24/7 staring at your home don’t you think that at some point the police would be called? We can say there is no expectation of privacy because of streets, neighbors, passerby’s, but the reality is cameras are 24/7 viewing and I think anyone would be creeped out if a neighbor stood on their deck, road, beach whatever just staring at a VR 24/7. "

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                Accuracy matters here......this is a misrepresentation of what I and others are doing with our cameras and the sort of monitoring we are doing.

                                                                                                                                                                I called that out as specious.

                                                                                                                                                                You knew that no cameras were pointed at my home, yet you persist in suggesting otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                As I said.....Accuracy matters.

                                                                                                                                                                I respect your sensitivity to on property cameras, but please don't misrepresent them.

                                                                                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                                wildiris Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                No, her analogy is not specious.  I'm responding to your post, so I will address your particular situation.  You have three exterior cameras at your vacation rental.  Although the cameras are pointed away from the house, at least one of the cameras is positioned so that you can view the activity on your deck and in your backyard leading to the beach.  You have stated that your backyard is visible to the neighbors or to people on the beach and that a guest should have no legal expectation of privacy when she is sunbathing in your backyard and that it's legal for you to have video surveillance cameras trained on your backyard.  For the purposes of argument, I will assume that you are correct and that you have the legal right to have all three of these cameras positioned in this manner.  The point that twobitrentals is making is that although a certain activity may be legal, it can still be creepy.  Let's use an example of one of your neighbors sitting on his deck all day long and well into the night and staring at your guests with binoculars every time they sit on your deck, cook on the grill, sunbathe in the yard, or do whatever they want to do in your yard.  Although the neighbor may have the legal right to do this, his behavior would be creepy.


                                                                                                                                                                The video cameras are staring 24/7.  If the cameras are on, they are sending constant alerts to an owner when someone is moving around in the camera's line of sight.  Most cameras also have the ability to make a recording of the activity and an owner can choose to review the footage at his leisure whenever he feels like it.  He can come home from work at the end of the day, open a can of beer, put his feet up and watch what his guests have been up to during the day.  Savvy guests understand how these cameras work. Some reasonable, rule-following guests are discomfited by this and prefer not to stay at a rental with exterior cameras, an on-site caretaker, or an owner who lives next door.


                                                                                                                                                                I have no idea how frequently or how much time you spend looking at the video feed from your cameras.  Neither do your guests.  And that's the whole point.  Even if you personally don't spend a lot of time looking at it the video feed, you have the ability to look at it.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                    I just do not see the point of this argument. You made it clear that you find it creepy. Ok, fair enough, don't rent houses with cameras. I personally think it will be hard to find one without as time goes by (unless you go to Alaska wilderness, for example), but ok. If camera disclosures are there and potential guests are made aware of them, they can choose to to still rent OR to bypass given VR and move on OR to stay in a hotel... oh wait a minute, that has cameras too. But, at that point owner does not care, the guest moved on, the owner moved on, next. for each 1 guest who is bothered by cameras there are 15 that aren't. Mutually part ways and live happily ever after. No harm done. Peace.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                                      psphoto Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                      For why I consider the analogy of my camera system to someone standing in the street 24/7 staring at my house specious...see my response to the original poster.

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                      As to your other points...I really don't have a backyard per se......there is beachgrass, sand and the Pacific Ocean beyond our deck. You can see a small portion of my deck that's clearly visible to anyone within a few hundred yards of it. In fact, since the deck is slightly elevated, you have a better view of the deck from the open surrounding areas than the sand right in front and of it. If you have an expectation of privacy here you are sadly mistaken.

                                                                                                                                                                      Then you said this:

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                      "The video cameras are staring 24/7.  If the cameras are on, they are sending constant alerts to an owner when someone is moving around in the camera's line of sight.  Most cameras also have the ability to make a recording of the activity and an owner can choose to review the footage at his leisure whenever he feels like it.  He can come home from work at the end of the day, open a can of beer, put his feet up and watch what his guests have been up to during the day."


                                                                                                                                                                      That is just not true.....although the cameras are always "on"..... the recording of what they see is turned off when guests are there. The fact that they have the ability to continuously record doesn't mean they are used that way of that feature is enabled The alerts setting is off as well.....otherwise I would constantly be bothered with alerts every time a guest leaves or walks to the beach.


                                                                                                                                                                      "I have no idea how frequently or how much time you spend looking at the video feed from your cameras.  Neither do your guests.  And that's the whole point.  Even if you personally don't spend a lot of time looking at it the video feed, you have the ability to look at it."

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                      I just told you how I operate my video monitoring system.....

                                                                                                                                                                      It's like I said before.....I'm trusting them with my house....they can trust me with my cameras. It's mutual and transactional.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                    I hate to be a contrarian, but no. There should not be an expectation of privacy because 1) driveway and parking pad can be seen from  the street and 2) I do have a sign saying "security cameras in use" - for some reason in this image greenery obscures it but it is where the red circle is. This is  bing street view. Maps

                                                                                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                                wildiris Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                Haven't you posted in the past that you live next to your vacation rental?  I'm not surprised that this is your point of view.

                                                                                                                                                              • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                                hickmanhideaway Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                Going to chime in here again. We do have a camera facing the front walkway, front deck and the front door. We disclose this in many places, before and after a guest books. We do tell them it is video and audio. We DO turn the recording/alerts off at the end of the day the guest has checked in. Or earlier if we are confident there are no more than 2 more guests than booked, or no pets.

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                We put in the camera because we did have a guest who booked for 2 and had 13 people. Know that for certain because they weren't out at check-out when we arrived to clean. Lots of hemming and hawing and finally admitted they had a family party and people slept wherever. Now guest know we have a camera and we have not had that happen again.

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                But I have had requests from a guest asking if we do turn off our camera after they arrive. I do not think this is because they want to sneak in more people, they just want a bit of privacy. And we assure them we do.

                                                                                                                                                                • Re: Outside video security cameras
                                                                                                                                                                  5boys New Member

                                                                                                                                                                  FWIW I'll add another situation where the cameras are useful and a suggestion on what has worked for us regarding concern from a renter

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not trying to convince anyone of the pros or cons but cameras are an important addition for us - and NOT for watching the renters!

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  We own 2 properties and have 3 cameras.  Property #1s camera is to support our ability to contrast neighbors' complaints about renters blocking the road - which only comes up well after they had left.  We did catch a bear attacking our garbage shed (that was cool!)   Property #2s (lake house) camera has one on the driveway and one pointing to our kayak/paddle board stand.  The camera only emails snapshots of the boards at check-in and check-out because those items cost us a lot of money and we really need to know their status at each of those instances.  We disclose the cameras and their locations in our rental agreements.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  We had someone who rented with us each year and noticed the addition of the cameras in our rental agreement (gotta love a renter who reads the agreement!).  He did not want his family filmed while on vacation and I support that - they're in bathing suits and all ages..I do get that.  We resolved this by explaining our use of the camera as well as sending a shot/footage of the camera.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  My point is not to agree to either side but to offer the suggestion that if you feel cameras are worthwhile and you have a customer who is reasonably questioning their usage, send them a snip of the footage.  I believe this goes a long way towards having an honest exchange.  They see what is being captured and can make a personal decision as to whether they are comfortable.