I have a seller who has a surveillance system installed in their home – do I have to tell potential buyers that they are being recorded?
Yes, it is a crime in Massachusetts to secretly hear or record another individual without their knowledge and consent pursuant to MassachusettsGeneral Laws Ch. 272, § 99. A device that only records video with no audio, however, is permissible under the statute.
As a listing agent, it is important to inquire whether a seller has any type of surveillance in the house that records audio, and whether it will be in operation during any showings and open houses. If a seller has a device that records audio and intends to record showings and open houses, notice must be given to all individuals subject to recording. Placing a sign in an obvious location, such as on the front door, to notify potential buyers and their agents of the recording is sufficient to constitute consent. Including a note about the recording in the MLS listing is also recommended. If, after notice of the recording, an individual still chooses to enter the property, that constitutes consent to be recorded.
As technology becomes a greater part of our day-to-day lives, this has become a much more frequent issue. As the penalties for recording without consent are significant, it is imperative to properly address this issue with sellers.
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