Texas, the Lone Star State, is known for its cuisine, cities, and unique lifestyle. With a population of over 28 million people, Texas is the second-most populous state in the nation. However, with a high crime rate, Texas’s ability to attract businesses, and maintain the workforce needed to power them, requires a strong commitment to security.
Guidance and regulations on security cameras differ greatly from state to state. Since Texas laws on video surveillance can be complicated, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you better assess the security landscape.
Security Camera Laws in Texas FAQs:
- What is illegal surveillance in Texas?
- What are the security camera notification requirements in Texas?
- Is it legal to record a conversation in Texas?
- Can my neighbor have a camera pointed at my property in Texas?
- Are businesses required to post surveillance signs in Texas?
- In Texas, is it legal to have cameras in your apartment?
What is illegal surveillance in Texas?
In Texas, taking a photo or video of someone’s “intimate region” violates Texas Penal Code 43.26. The code makes it clear that when that person has a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” it is unlawful and called “Invasive Visual Recording.” For example, someone in a public restroom stall or a store’s clothing changing room.
An illegal recording, a recording with criminal or tortious intent, is a felony and can result in civil damages. In addition, Texas is considered a One-Party Consent State, meaning that at least one person involved in the recorded communication must consent.
Video and Audio Surveillance Laws in Texas
In Texas, most counties and municipalities have their own ordinances, statutes, and laws regarding home security. The Texas Occupations Code lays out particular requirements for home security companies to do business in the state or even to be legally classified as a “home security provider” in the first place. Unfortunately, the paper is lengthy and contains a lot of legalese, which can make it very difficult to comprehend. Below are some of the key regulations:
- Section 16.02 of the Texas Penal Code-State law that governs unlawful use, interception, or disclosure of a wire, oral, or electronic communication.
- Section 21.15 of the Texas Penal Code-State law that outlines the criminal offense of invasive visual recording.
- Section 29.022 of the Texas Education Code-State law requiring districts to conduct video and audio surveillance of certain special education classrooms or settings upon request.
- Chapter 119 in Title 18 of the U.S. Code of Federal law about the interception of oral, electronic, and wire communications.
What are the security camera notification requirements in Texas?
It is unlawful to install concealed cameras anywhere, regardless of whether it is on private property. Therefore, any cameras you install must be visible. In addition, it would help to inform your tenant that the cameras are operational. Consequently, it’s a good idea to include this clause in your lease or rental agreement so that there’s no doubt that you’ve notified them.
Is it legal to record a conversation in Texas?
Without the approval of at least one person, you may not record or share discussions in which you are not a participant. State and federal laws, on the other hand, offer an exception when the person or people conversing are doing so in an atmosphere where they should not expect privacy.
Can my neighbor have a camera pointed at my property in Texas?
The short answer is, yes it is legal, but if your neighbor is pointing his camera directly into your home and you can show that he is intentionally recording an area where you expect privacy, then you may be able to maintain a suit, but having a camera generally pointing into the direction of your garage is not sufficient to maintain a suit.
Best places to install home security cameras
Although no two homes are the same, everyone’s property deserves to be safeguarded. Security cameras are an excellent way to increase your sense of security because they provide you with additional eyes on your property at all times. Optimal places you should consider installing a security camera include:
- Exterior Front Door
- Exteriro: Back & Side Doors
- Exteriro: Garage
- Interior: Comman Spaces
- Interiro: Main Hallway
Are businesses required to post surveillance signs in Texas?
No state in the country requires business owners to install signage that alerts workers or customers that they’re under surveillance, provided that the camera is in a public place. Many business owners put up signs even if they aren’t needed. This is frequently done as a service to consumers and as a deterrent to theft and vandalism.
In Texas, is it legal to have cameras in your apartment?
Yes, tenants are generally permitted to use the exterior of their buildings and can install cameras as long as they do not cause structural damage. Tenants frequently choose a WiFi camera system that does not require drilling or wiring. Tenants who prefer a more integrated system typically coordinate with a professional security company to guide them thru the process.
When deployed appropriately, security cameras improve a property’s security posture. While security cameras are legal in Texas, it is a good idea to review local guidelines and talk with a professional security camera installer to ensure that you get the best security system for your property.