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I would have thought that a by-law should have been written to cover the OC’s authority and responsibility for the OC CCTV. Guide lines would not be sufficient.
The CCTV footage is an OC record. As such it can be viewed by OC members – including committee members and other owners.
In the by-law – Safe guards should be built into the viewing such as: only the Committee and Law enforcement officers should be authorised to access the footage; with justification an Owner can apply to the Committee to access the footage and must view it in the presence of two committee members and the Committee cannot unreasonable deny such a request; signage should be displayed indicating that CCTV is operating in that area; the footage can only be viewed as a result of a ‘by-law breach incident’ or to prevent a future ‘by-law breach incident’; Committee approval must be obtained via a Committee motion before any viewings of the CCTV footage (this can obtained via a Motion Outside of a Committee Meeting if necessary); a minimum of two committee members must be present when the tape is viewed; and, a ledger must be signed and dated by all those who viewed the tape and a reason given as to the need to view the tape.
There are probably other restrictions that could be imposed, but the above suggestions might be a good starting point.
If you are in NSW the following may help:
While by-laws can be reasonably easy to create in NSW we shouldn’t forget that in other parts of the country it can be quite a task!
In Victoria you need a Special Resolution to create Rules with at least needs 50% of the whole OC actually voting and voting for it (and that’s only for an Interim SR)! None of my OCs in Victoria have ever managed to achieve this.
What we have done re CCTV footage in my Victorian OCs is leave the access permission to the committee or the building manager. So far that seems to work well.
We considered developing guidelines and policies but in reality some of the events where access has been requested are quite hard to predict. A certain amount of flexibility has been needed. A committee decision in my OCs is pretty quick – it can be done by emails.
Our CCTV systems automatically overwrite footage once the hard-drive is full. So any access request must be made fairly promptly.
On the subject of video surveillance and by-laws the following link to a site in Canada makes for interesting reading, particularly regarding what is “reasonable” surveillance in by-law enforcement. The legislation may be different in Canada but the concept of what is ‘reasonable’ remains the same:
See here for a ruling: https://www.oipc.bc.ca/orders/1417
Surveillance in strata may be an issue that deserves better safe guards under the Act.
Surveillance should be justifiable and should be the last resort after all other methods to enforce by-laws have failed.
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