Flat Chat Strata Forum Living in strata Current Page

  • This topic has 11 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 3 weeks ago by .
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  • #59605
    Mary123
    Flatchatter

    I have seen a fair bit of discussion on privacy and cameras being installed by the SC, but haven’t seen a direct comment on whether our SC can install another camera, this time apparently above the pool, thus showing people around the pool. I don’t want to be filmed in my swiimsuit (though that’s not a big issue). But I think it is a bigger issue if children are being filmed. Is this legal, without a vote by the owners? (I have been told only the strata management company will have access – the committee apparently asked, but were told they couldn’t.)

    Apologies if I have missed any past comments on this, but thanks for any input.

     

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #59608
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I’ve been reading something very recently that says that video recordings on an owners corporation camera are effectively documents owned by the OC and must therefore be made available to any owner who wants to see them.

    I’m not sure about video recordings but I know privacy laws do not apply to owners corporations with an annual turnover of $3million.

    I would say that the installation of a CCTV camera at a common area like a swimming pool was a significant alteration to common property (even though the physical disruption would be minimal) because of the effect it might have on users of the space.

    In which case it would require a by-law and therefore a special resolution.  I would include as part of the by-law the assumption that all owners were entitled to see the video but include an application system that required them to jump through many hoops, including providing National Police Checks documentation.

    The point of that would be to deter anyone from accessing the video for nefarious and malicious purposes.

    But either way, I feel the cameras must be covered by a by-law so that the owners in the building can control the storage of images recorded through them.

     

    #59614
    TrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter

    Jimmy is correct when he writes that every lot owner should be allowed to view recorded footage and that it’s wise to include a by law on the issue of CCTV.

    A very interesting and comprehensive article on this issue was published in May 2021. Please see https://picagroup.com.au/article/enhancing-community-living/cctv-cameras-on-your-strata-property/

    This may be the article Jimmy came across.

     

    #59616
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    JT

    you say that you believe that Cctv footage is a record of the OC and then suggest hurdles to access the footage. Thst is indirect contravention ofthe many posts you have put up saying owners have unfettered rights to OC records.

    To answer the posters question, the installation of the pool camera perhaps should be put to a meeting of the OC. There may be valid reasons to install it. The owners can hear the arguments and then make a decision. Majority gets the nod.

    What the poster does not say, is who suggested the installation of the camera. Remember that it’s only the committee or the owners who can decide to install it, not the strata or building manager.

    In Australia, any person or entity is permitted to make video recordings, but not to record the sound, in a public place. Public meaning not in another persons private space.

    Also let’s not assume the worst. It’s likely that the installation of the camera is to improve security, not to provide jollies for some pervert.

    #59627
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    JT: you say that you believe that Cctv footage is a record of the OC and then suggest hurdles to access the footage. Thst is indirect contravention ofthe many posts you have put up saying owners have unfettered rights to OC records.

    No it isn’t and if I used the word “unfettered” it would have been to express the fact that ultimately, an owner can asccess all strata records.  As far as the contradiction you allege, access to records are not “unfettered” – if only because you have to pay a fee.

    They don’t put hurdles in a track race to prevent the race, they do it to make the competitors work harder. Under my suggestion, if you can’t prevent people from legally viewing OC-generated video footage, you can put a few hurdles in their way, including having to justify why they need to see it.  It’s a hurdle not a barrier.  There’s a difference.

    To answer the posters question, the installation of the pool camera perhaps should be put to a meeting of the OC. There may be valid reasons to install it. The owners can hear the arguments and then make a decision. Majority gets the nod.

    That’s pretty much what I said – except I’d want a special resolution.

    What the poster does not say, is who suggested the installation of the camera.

    I think they implied it was the strata committee.

    In Australia, any person or entity is permitted to make video recordings, but not to record the sound, in a public place. Public meaning not in another persons private space.

    Also in Australia, people are not allowed to fix cameras to common property without the approval of the owners via a special resolution by-law. And common property is not a “public place”- it’s a collectively owned residential space.  Your definition of “public” is wrong in this context.

    Also let’s not assume the worst. It’s likely that the installation of the camera is to improve security, not to provide jollies for some pervert.

    But that doesn’t mean that people won’t be deterred from using the facilities, or teaching their kids to swim, for instance, because they fear (as the OP clearly does) that someone might take advantage of the presence of cameras to perv on their kids.

    I can see why strata schemes would want to install cameras around swiming pools, for entirely benign reasons like safety and deterring bad behaviour.  My suggestion was to allow this to happen without deterring people from using  the pool because they were concerned about privacy and, yes, paedos.

    It’s not a concern I share but I can see how others might feel that way.

    However, I regret the day on holiday in Hawaii when my grandaughter was in a mermaid suit in the hotel pool and a stranger stopped and took her picture.  Maybe he was charmed, maybe he wanted to show his own granddaughter.  Maybe I should have told him to delete the picture.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by .
    #59649
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    A very interesting and comprehensive article on this issue was published in May 2021. Please see https://picagroup.com.au/article/enhancing-community-living/cctv-cameras-on-your-strata-property/

    This may be the article Jimmy came across.

    It wasn’t but it’s a very interesting read, covering a number of jurisdictions.

    In fact, what got my attention was this article on the Unit Owners Associaon of Queensland website.

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by .
    #59651
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    A very interesting and comprehensive article on this issue was published in May 2021. Please see https://picagroup.com.au/article/enhancing-community-living/cctv-cameras-on-your-strata-property/

    This may be the article Jimmy came across.

    It wasn’t but it’s a very interesting read, covering a number of jurisdictions.

    In fact, what got my attention was this article on the Unit Owners Association of Queensland website.

     

    #59693
    Rezonator
    Flatchatter

    Hi All,

    Sydney Strata Manager here (I know, eww).

    Under sections 181 and 182 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW) (SSMA), every owner has a right to request access to the records of the Owners Corporation. CCTV footage falls under this category.

    There is a fee payable ($34.10) payable under legislation. Your strata manager may or may not insist that you pay that to view records. This is to subsidise the cost in making the records available (e.g. having a location and system to access and view records) for strata managers and self managed buildings.

    However CCTV footage is sensitive for obvious reasons. I once had an owner who was using the CCTV to inappropriately observe (you can guess what I mean) a particular resident. As an owner, he had a right to the records, but we had to obstruct him once we learned what he was doing.

    Further, advice from NSW Police is that footage pursuant to an alleged crime is not to be provided to anyone except the Police to avoid tainting witness statements. This is a very specific case, however.

    CCTV monitoring the pool or other areas of common property is a net positive. The CCTV systems are not monitored in real time, so barring the example of the inappropriate gentleman above, it is unlikely that anyone will see you in your swimwear.

    However, if someone wanted to accuse you of going skinny dipping in the pool, assaulted someone on the common property, or misused the common property resulting in injury etc., residents and the Owners Corporation are better served having footage of the common property to exonerate or prove the allegations as appropriate. Just like insurance, it doesn’t matter when it isn’t needed, but you’ll be glad you had it when it is needed.

    As for privacy, a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy when in public pursuant to the Privacy Act 1998 (NSW), however a strata plan is not necessarily a public area. That said, if the Owners Corporation has resolved to install cameras, then the land owners have agreed in accordance with the SSMA and you have the option of accepting it, trying to fight it or moving out. Strata, as a micro-democracy, means that not everyone gets what they want.

    As such, privacy does not apply in this context. The exception to this is that, while you can be filmed, conversations cannot be recorded. NSW is a one party consent state, so you can have a participant in a conversation with you record the conversation, but you cannot be eavesdropped as would happen with a CCTV system. If your CCTV system records audio, you have a legitimate complaint and can insist the option be turned off or replacement cameras installed (be prepared for a fight given the cost of this, however).

    Regarding procedure to install a CCTV system, section 108 of the SSMA states that any alteration or addition to common property requires a special resolution (at least 75% approval by Unit of Entitlement) at a general meeting. A by-law is only required if an owner is adding/altering common property in such a way as they would need to be responsible for future repairs and maintenance (like renovating their bathroom).

    A by-law governing rules for accessing CCTV footage is a good idea in principle, but it would be difficult to cover every situation in which access to the footage would be required. In any event, the legislation allows you access to the records of the OC as stated above, so the expense of a by-law is unnecessary/redundant.

    The Committee, as the ‘governing body’ of the Owners Corporation, as well as the strata manager are the most reasonable options for control of the CCTV footage, as they are with all strata records. If you have a Committee or a Strata Manager you don’t trust to hold those records, you have bigger problems than just CCTV and need to look into changing either party.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by .
    #59697
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The Committee, as the ‘governing body’ of the Owners Corporation, as well as the strata manager are the most reasonable options for control of the CCTV footage, as they are with all strata records. If you have a Committee or a Strata Manager you don’t trust to hold those records, you have bigger problems than just CCTV and need to look into changing either party.

    Thanks for your real world summary of the situation.

    I agree with everything you wrote apart from the last part. Committees, their chairs and, indeed, strata managers have wildly differing levels of knowledge and experience of strata laws.  For many, the issues of video surveillance are unlikely to have troubled their brain cells until the moment they are confronted by them.

    A by-law not only establishes a procedure for viewing CCTV footage, it makes owners think about how much control they want to exercise.

    It was only recently that strata managers conceded that email addresses legally had to be passed on to owners who requested them (and some still won’t). And there are committees who will panic at the first mention of legal action and drop the ball completely.

    Even if by-laws may not strictly be necessary and might never be invoked, they set the parameters that the majority of owners want to impose and, of course, if they cross the line and supersede strata law then they are invalid anyway.

    I’d want a by-law that insisted that owners seeking to view video recordings registered their name and a detailed reason of why they wanted to see it, which would then be noted at the next committee meeting and go on the permanent record of the strata scheme.

    #59704
    ShirleyB
    Flatchatter

    More camera issues. I was recently door knocked by the police as I had been incorrectly reported to Crimestoppers as visiting a neighbour upstairs. During this discussion it appeared that the same neighbour had been seen on common property [outside] without a mask. The evidence of this was on CCTV footage. Apparently the building manager had been instructed [by the committee via the strata manager] to check all footage and report anyone to Crimestoppers. Unbelievable!
    It was in the course of this discussion that I realised a rear door camera was aimed directly at my rear deck gate, I was a little shocked and asked to see some of this footage to see exactly what angle the camera was catching as it appeared to look directly into my place. I was denied an opportunity to view and judge this camera angle and told only the strata manager and committee are allowed viewing access. Does anyone have an opinion on this please?

    #59706
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I was denied an opportunity to view and judge this camera angle and told only the strata manager and committee are allowed viewing access. Does anyone have an opinion on this please?

    As you will read above, the recordings are owners corp documents and you are legally entitled to see them. Print out the above material and show it to your strata manager.

    And thanks for confirming my opinion that strata managers and committees aren’t always the best people to control access to CCTV recordings.

     

    #59785
    Ross Anderson
    Flatchatter

    Greetings

    I am from QLD and authored the UOAQ article re CCTV which JimmyT published in FlatChat.  (Thank you, Jimmy!) It has generated a lot of interest up here in the Sunshine State and I hope it leads to more unit owners giving some thought to the question of CCTV cameras on common property, especially when the cameras are positioned to capture images of people in communal areas like the pool, gym, spa etc.  I’d guess that historically, there has been little application of our collective brainpower to this question, and as suggested in my article, the very fact the cameras are tucked away out of sight also means they are also out of mind.

    My particular interest here is the level of transparency and disclosure appropriate to the CCTV installations, ie should there be signage about their presence, OR should the signs also advise that all owners may view the footage subject to paying a nominal statutory fee and also obtain snapshots at a mere cost of 65 cents each.

    Interestingly, I attended a webinar today about the QLD right of access to body corporate records, with particular focus on CCTV.  The webinar was hosted by a senior strata lawyer Frank Higginson of Hynes Legal and by Chris Irons the former Body Corporate Commissioner.  When asked whether the signage should also reference the owners’ right to view/copy the footage, they both replied that while there may not be any legal requirement to do so, it should be observed as a Best Practice.  I found it quite heartening that at least two leaders in our QLD strata world think this way and are prepared to put their views out there in public.

    I realise that full disclosure may alarm some people, particularly the holiday rental managers, but perhaps this is the best way to test how genuine their support is for the cameras in the first.  Personally, I would have doubts about the integrity of anyone who champions the installations but then goes quiet about telling people about the full implications of the footage.

    Many thanks

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