Either a Body Corporate or lot owner may wish to install CCTV in a community titles scheme.  This wish may raise several questions about the Body Corporate and the lot owners responsibility, as well as concerns about recording and privacy.  Legal advice may be required before installation of security cameras, however here are some facts to consider;

In Queensland it is not illegal for someone to video you or your home unless:

  • They trespass on your land to do so
  • They are videoing your private body parts or activities
  • They are recording a private conversation without your permission
  • It amounts to stalking or domestic violence

Recording private body parts and activities

If someone is in a private place, or doing a private act in circumstances where they would reasonably expect privacy, it is a criminal offence to film them without consent.  Private acts might include things like undressing, using the toilet, showering, bathing or being intimate in a place where a person would reasonably expect privacy.  It is also a criminal offence to film body parts without someone’s permission.

Recording Private Conversations

In Queensland a person is not permitted to record private conversations that they are not involved in.  Therefore if CCTV surveillance is likely to capture a private conversation, the audio part of the recording system should be disabled and the surveillance equipment should be positioned to avoid the conversation being lip-readable.

CCTV surveillance must not cause a nuisance

The Body Corporate Community Management Act 1997 states that an occupier of a lot in a Community Titles Scheme must not use or permit the use of the lot or common property in a way that causes a nuisance or interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of another lot or the common property included in the scheme.  Lot owners therefore have a responsibility to ensure that if they are allowed to install CCTV equipment on their property, it does not interfere with another lot owner’s use and enjoyment of their lot or common property.

Record keeping requirements

While Body Corporate legislation does not specifically make mention of video footage, adjudicators have made orders where footage from CCTV that is operated by the Body Corporate is a Body Corporate record.

Bodies Corporate should be aware of both the potential for footage to be a record and of the record keeping requirements under the Act, and consider how they will manage these requirements if they are considering installing CCTV.

Reasonable camera placement

The primary purpose of the surveillance should be considered when positioning CCTV cameras.  Security is the primary purpose of most surveillance so cameras should be installed to cover the main entrance and exits, any special target areas and any opportunity to identify any offenders.

If an owner or occupier in a scheme can demonstrate that a Body Corporate’s decision to install a camera in a place, or facing a particular location, is unreasonable, they may be able to dispute it.

This information was taken from a fact sheet provided by the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management.

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