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Vacation Nightmare – Part III

Most vacation rental companies have their own policies in place to protect your privacy. Since Airbnb and VRBO are the most commonly used rental companies, let’s take a look at their current policies on cameras and renters’ privacy.

Airbnb has new rules for hosts regarding cameras – all renters should be aware that these rules take effect on April 30, 2024.

Here’s what you need to know about disclosure requirements:

·      Hosts are not allowed to have security cameras and recording devices that monitor any part of a listing’s interior, such as the listing’s hallway, bedroom, bathroom, living room, or guest house, even if they’re turned off or disconnected. Hidden security cameras are strictly prohibited. These prohibitions also apply to the common areas and shared spaces of private room listings (ex: a living room).

·      Hosts are allowed to have exterior security cameras and recording devices as long as they do not monitor areas where users have a greater expectation of privacy, such as the inside of an enclosed outdoor shower or in a sauna.

·      Hosts must disclose the location of exterior security cameras (ex: “I have a camera in my front yard,” or “I have a camera over my patio.”)

·      Hosts are allowed to have noise decibel monitors in the listing’s interior as long as the Host discloses their presence and are not allowed in bedrooms, bathrooms, or sleeping areas. Hosts are not required to disclose where their noise decibel monitors are located.

 

VRBO rules regarding surveillance are more specific and include monitoring the internet and geolocation devices.

They consider a surveillance device to be anything that captures the following:

·      Photos

·      Audio recordings

·      Videos

·      Geolocation

·      Personally identifiable information

·      Monitors data on the internet

 

Inside the property

Surveillance devices, which use any form of capture device such as a camera or an audio recorder, can’t be used inside of a property.

Exceptions: Smart devices that may not be activated remotely are allowed as long as you have been informed of their presence and given the option to deactivate them.

 

Outside the property

Surveillance devices, including security cameras and smart doorbells (which may record audio), are permitted if they follow these rules:

·      Surveillance devices should only be used for security purposes.

·      Location and coverage of devices must be disclosed on the property description page for. It’s not enough to include a photo of the device.

·      Outdoor cameras covering pools and hot tubs that were disclosed on the property details page and in a reasonably discoverable location such as a welcome binder, a notice on the wall of a high-traffic common space, or a placard next to the entry point itself. The disclosure must specify that the pool/hot tub is within the coverage area of the device.

·      Areas where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as the bathroom or bedroom, should not be under surveillance.

·      Reasonable measures should be taken to limit access to surveillance data.

·      Surveillance data should be deleted when no longer needed.

 

Make sure when renting a vacation or residential property that you read the policy from the rental company regarding your privacy and cameras on the property. If you don’t feel comfortable with their policy, trust your instincts and either select another property or choose a professional TSCM expert, like Hawk PI, to conduct a sweep of the property.

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