HOA property managers face security risks from both outside intruders and disorderly residents, which is why neighborhood security is a crucial issue. As an HOA owner or manager, you should ask yourself a couple questions: Are your residents safe from outside crime at all times when they are home? And are you financially safe from liability in the case of third-party criminal behavior?
Installing an HOA security system is an essential step in securing your property. However, not all security system uses are legal in California. For example, HOA security cameras are a great way to boost neighborhood safety and deter trespassing, vandalism, property damage, and rules violations — but improper installation can result in privacy violation and legal consequences.
Here’s what property managers need to know about California HOA security camera installation in their neighborhood.
Can I Install Neighborhood Security Cameras in an HOA?
Installing neighborhood security cameras is a great way to keep crime under control in your HOA, but neighborhood cameras can’t be installed everywhere. California video surveillance laws only allow HOA camera installation in areas where residents do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This means neighborhood security camera systems can only be installed in public areas, such as entry gates, recreational facilities, common areas, and parking garages. As long as total privacy is not expected in an area, it is probably an acceptable place for security cameras.
Some examples of areas where California HOA security camera systems may be illegal are restrooms, locker rooms, changing areas, and inside residential units. In addition, camera views should always be kept away from doors and windows of units where residents live, as capturing footage of these areas could be considered a privacy violation.
California HOA associations almost always require owners to gain approval for any security systems added to the property, so it’s important that all camera systems are carefully designed for compliant functioning. We know how to navigate state and local laws, and to design an effective and compliant camera system that gets approved every time.
Are California HOA Pool Security Cameras Legal?
The laws on HOA pool security cameras in California can be hard to pin down. Generally, common pool areas are considered public, and can be monitored with HOA security cameras. Still, HOA owners and managers should take care to let residents know they are being monitored — for example, by putting up signs. Surveillance cameras are a great addition to pool entrances, especially when combined with access control, but they should not be placed in private areas such as pool changing rooms or locker rooms.
Neighborhood cameras in pool areas are an ideal solution if an HOA property is having trouble with crimes, which can include theft, vandalism, and violence. Resident misbehavior and rowdiness can also be a good reason to put up cameras. Security cameras can also help to supplement lifeguards, and to ensure no children or pets enter pool areas unsupervised.
What About a Neighborhood License Plate Camera System?
A neighborhood license plate camera system deters burglaries, break-ins, and package theft, as well as making it easy to identify offenders if crimes are committed. High-quality neighborhood license plate cameras, such as Flock neighborhood security systems, have even been shown to lead to a 60% reduction in crime. But are they legal?
Though license plate readers are most widely known for being used by law enforcement, they are becoming a popular way to protect businesses and HOA neighborhoods. California law allows automated license plate reader installation in HOA neighborhoods, as long as the system is well-maintained and protected.
License plate readers are often integrated with alarms and gate access control, to keep out unauthorized vehicles and sound alarms if they try to enter.
Can I Use Neighborhood Surveillance Cameras to Record Audio in California?
Neighborhood surveillance cameras that record audio as well as video are more complicated than video-only monitoring in California HOAs. While recording audio can provide added proof of crimes taken to court, it can be considered eavesdropping. If neighborhood watch video surveillance systems that use audio are not approved by the HOA board and completely compliant with California law, property owners and managers could face legal repercussions.
If HOA owners choose to set up audio recording in their neighborhood surveillance system, they should notify all residents and make sure they do not record in areas that could be considered confidential. Safe and Sound Security experts are familiar with state and local audio surveillance laws, and we work with you to create a powerful and compliant neighborhood surveillance camera system.
How Do I Combine Gated Community Access Control With Cameras?
Gated community access control keeps your neighborhood safe and secure against unauthorized intruders, especially when combined with HOA security cameras. When a gate is clearly secured at all times, intruders and criminals will be less tempted to target your property. And with strong gate access control, they won’t be able to get in even if they try.
Some popular gate access systems include cards and card readers, key pads, and smart and prox cards. It is important that gate openers and closers are high-quality, well-installed, and built to resist contamination and rusting that accumulates over time.
Another great way to add residential gate access control to your gated neighborhood is with an intercom system. With a gate intercom, residents and property managers can see video footage and/or hear audio of visitors at the gate, enabling them to remotely verify the identity of every guest that visits a neighborhood. Residents and managers can then press a button to temporarily unlock the gate for visitors.
Can I Use a Neighborhood Security App to Unify My HOA System?
Thanks to cutting-edge cloud technology, HOA managers and residents can view and manage neighborhood security from their smartphone, no matter where they are. In a system with a neighborhood security app, a combination of cameras, access control, and alarm systems works with cloud technology, making security footage accessible from a phone or web browser.
This means residents and managers can remotely see visitors at the gate or door, grant access, view comprehensive entry logs, and more — all with a mobile app. Cloud-based security apps add convenience to modern HOA neighborhoods, and can eliminate the costs of security hardware installation.
Safe and Sound experts create tailored California HOA security systems that provide powerful security and complete legal compliance. We’re a local company that understands California security systems and regulations. We also assess your property and offer neighborhood security tips and tricks, to boost the safety of your community. Contact us today for a free quote.
For more information about neighborhood security systems, check out our 6 neighborhood security tips for California HOAs.