Personal CCTV and video doorbells
Legally, can I install personal CCTV/video doorbells?
Yes, but it must only be recording your property. By limiting the coverage of the CCTV to your property’s boundaries, including your garden, data protection laws don’t apply. If you’re capturing images outside the boundary of your property, such as your neighbours’ homes or gardens or public footpaths or streets, UK GDPR and data protection laws apply.
Do I need your permission before I install CCTV?
Yes, you must tell us of any alterations to the interior or exterior of your property. To do this, you can complete the permission to alter external elements of your home form - please select Satellite Dish/Aerial/CCTV/Security Lighting/Security Alarms.
Do I need to remove this if I move out?
Yes, any CCTV and Ring doorbell equipment must be removed before you leave your home.
What do I need to consider first?
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) says you need to think about several factors when deciding whether to install video equipment.
- Do I really need CCTV?
- Are there other things I could use to protect my home, such as better lighting?
- What’s the most privacy-friendly way to set up the system?
- What areas do I want the cameras to capture?
- Can I position the cameras to avoid intruding on my neighbours’ property or any shared or public spaces?
- Do I need to record the images, or is a live feed enough?
- Has my CCTV system got an audio-recording facility?
The ICO also suggests that you speak to your neighbours before installing your system to listen to any objections and inviting them to view the footage.
You must have a justifiable reason for capturing the images. Normally, people want to protect their property or increase the safety of them and their family.
If you have a ‘legitimate interest’ in capturing the images and can show that you’ve conducted a balancing exercise that weighs up the reasons for capturing the images against the privacy rights of neighbours and other third parties, the processing can be justified.
What if I need to capture video surveillance of another person involved in anti-social behaviour?
It’s possible to do this, but please speak to your ASB Advisor or Housing Officer first.
You should consider ways to minimise the intrusion by not recording all the time, not capturing audio, or adjusting the range of the camera so it captures a smaller area.
It’s important to remember that other people don’t waive their privacy rights because they’re walking down a public path or having a conversation in a communal area.
You must remember that whilst the appropriate use of a domestic video system may be justifiable, using the captured data to put on social media is unlikely to be acceptable under the legislation if it includes images of other people.
What if the camera catches other people, properties, or communal space outside the boundary of the property?
Capturing images of the street or communal areas doesn’t necessarily breach data protection laws, but you’ll become a ‘data controller’ which carries certain responsibilities.
You’ll need to follow several steps to ensure you’re compliant with data protection laws. You’ll need to take the following into account:
- Inform people that you’re using CCTV by putting up signs letting them know about the recording and the reasons for it.
- Make sure that you’re not capturing more footage than you need to.
- Ensure the security of the footage. You should be able to demonstrate that the system you’re using meets any applicable standards.
- Only retain footage for as long as necessary.
- Ensure the CCTV system is operated to support the reason that it was installed and that it isn’t misused.
- Comply with subject access requests and other data subject rights.
What happens if I don’t act responsibly as a ‘data controller?’
There’s a possibility a complaint could be made to the ICO. You could then be subject to enforcement action, including a fine.
You should calmly approach the person whose camera it is to request it’s adjusted to not capture your property or personal data.
You can ask us to step in if you’re not able to do this yourself.
The ICO recommends active early management of disputes involving CCTV, including considering mediation and other informal resolution mechanisms to avoid more formal mechanisms for escalating a dispute
Updated: 28 February 2023