State of Surveillance Safeguarding Your Condo

There are many different factors that prospective condominium owners take into account when looking to buy a unit. Aesthetics, price, and location are important, for sure. But perhaps the most critical factors of all are the safety of the building and the neighborhood it’s in.

Despite the country's urban areas reporting fewer serious crimes in recent years, it would be naïve—not to mention irresponsible—not to take proper steps to safeguard one's home and loved ones. To that end, most condominium associations and boards of directors employ some sort of surveillance on their properties to keep watch over them in a visible way, and give residents a sense of security. Unit owners can expect to see those ubiquitous cameras in hallways, in garages or parking areas, near elevators, and at common areas like pools, tennis courts, or other amenities.

Do Cameras Really Provide Security?

Fundamentally, cameras are just mechanical eyes. While they may deter crime to some degree, when it comes to security, their prime purpose is to record happenings in an environment for use later by condominium boards and hired security staff if a problem is reported.

That’s the catch. Whether or not there are security stations and guards on a property, it’s rare that someone is sitting there watching the surveillance video feed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some attorneys caution condominium owners that having cameras on site doesn’t mean that the environment is safer than if they were absent.

“When [boards] set up security cameras, they have to be very careful because they're assuming a duty they legally don't have, and if they do it negligently, they can be liable. If you put up a security camera, and it doesn't prevent a third party from harming a resident, they can sue the association, and many times be successful if the association didn't follow through and take the proper steps to secure their safety. You can't just put up cameras and walk away,” says Lara A. Anderson, an attorney at the law firm of Fullett Rosenlund Anderson, PC in Lake Zurich.

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