DEAR DAVID: Are video doorbells a good way to monitor showings at my house? – RING MY BELL
DEAR RING: Many of today’s homes are equipped with smart devices, from thermostats, to doorbells, to the ever-popular Alexa. As familiar as these devices might be, using them to surveil showings in your home can be a bit of a legal minefield. There’s a risk they could inadvertently record people’s private conversations without their consent, and potentially expose you and the Realtor to legal liability.
Depending on the situation, the recording of private conversations may be lawful in Canada, provided you’re an active part of the discussion. During home showings, you are removed from the conversation and run the risk of capturing sensitive information, even if by accident. This could potentially constitute a breach privacy or confidentiality in the Realtor-client relationship.
Before recording showings at your home, you’ll likely need to seek the informed consent of all participants. This means that all potential buyers and their agents will need to be told that they are being recorded, and for what purpose those recordings will be used. Implied consent is allowed, which means that if people know they are going to be recorded and choose to enter your home, they consent to the recording. From a legal standpoint, implied consent may be enough to keep you on the right side of the law.
To ensure everyone is properly informed, your listing should indicate that showings will be recorded. This information should also be posted at the entrance of your home. Unfortunately, taking these steps may dampen the ambiance of showings and leave guests feeling very uncomfortable. It’s hard for them to fall in love with your property if they feel like big brother is watching.
Video files can capture sensitive personal information such as what a person looks or sounds like, and details about their relationships. As a homeowner, you technically own the recordings you make. Sharing them can constitute a breach of privacy, so it’s important that you protect your recordings or risk exposing yourself to damages.
There is nothing inherently illegal about using a smart device to record showings, but before taking this step, you need to obtain consent from every visitor and ensure that you are protecting their privacy. Failing to do so may expose you (and all involved Realtors) to legal liability. If you feel that recording home showings is important, consult with your lawyer in advance to ensure you are acting lawfully. Keep in mind that if you want potential buyers to feel comfortable in your space, recording them will be a turnoff. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator
David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.