Airbnb Tells Hosts to Ditch Indoor Security Cameras

Property owners who advertise on the short-term rental platform must follow stricter guidelines when monitoring their homes while guests are there.

Airbnb announced this week that it will no longer permit hosts to use indoor security cameras to monitor rental properties they advertise on the platform. The short-term rental site also released more stringent rules regarding the use of outdoor cameras and other security devices on rental properties.

“Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb,” says Juniper Downs, Airbnb’s head of community policy and partnerships. “These changes were made in consultation with our guests, hosts and privacy experts, and we’ll continue to seek feedback to help ensure our policies work for our global community.”

Previously, Airbnb allowed indoor security cameras on properties only if there was a clearly visible disclosure notice on the property’s listing page. Airbnb did not permit security cameras in sleeping areas or bathrooms, but hallways and living rooms were acceptable.

Airbnb’s new rules, which take effect April 30, also require hosts to disclose the presence of outdoor security cameras, doorbell cameras and noise decibel monitors, which have been used to determine whether guests are having a party. Noise decibel monitors cannot be used to record or transmit conversations, and outdoor cameras cannot be manipulated to monitor indoor spaces or areas of privacy, such as an outdoor shower, Airbnb says.

Hidden cameras in properties have come under scrutiny in recent years, prompted by home buyers complaining about secret recording devices planted by sellers during showings. In a 2021 study, nearly a third of home sellers admitted to using a hidden camera while their property was on the market. While most of those sellers said they wanted to find out what buyers did and didn’t like about their home, a third said they wanted information they could leverage in negotiations.

Any property owner, whether selling or renting the home, should consider the potential legal issues and take precautions. Learn what you can do to prepare clients in the below Window to the Law video from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine