Is CCTV legal in a room rental apartment?

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cocorossello
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Is CCTV legal in a room rental apartment?

Post by cocorossello » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 11:12 am

Hi,

We (my girlfriend and myself) are having a lot of problems with our landlord and I would like to ask a couple of questions.

We moved to Singapore 4 months ago and rented a nice (and very expensive.. 2200S$ per month) room in Chinatown area.

The apartment was being refurbished when we moved in, so at the beginning we didn't have all the furniture in our room, neither in the common area.

The main problem was that, one month later, he installed a CCTV in the apartment, to record the common areas.

There is no mention of CCTV in the contract, and we spoke with him because we don't want to be recorded in our own apartment. We are the only tenants in the apartment and we don't think we need this CCTV, the building already has security.

Anyway, we stayed in the apartment. The next month we had a humidity problem in our room and when we said it to the landlord, he said that he was going to repaint the room. The thing is that he just came into our room (without letting us know) and repainted it, and told us to sleep in another room for 4-5 days. This is clearly a privacy violation and we advised him.


Also, as we didn't like the CCTV idea, I changed the router configuration so the cameras were not recording anymore (MAC address filtering). Now he thinks that I deleted all the recorded data and he is advising me that it is ilegal and he is very angry with us.

With all this in mind, we want to move out by the end of this month (in 2 weeks) and the problem is that he won't give us our deposit back. It is stated in the contract, that in case of early termination, we would lose our deposit... but the thing is that he has been very mean to us in this 4 months and he also invaded our privacy.

I wonder if somebody knows if what he did is ilegal and can be a cause for contract breach (so we get our deposit back).

Can anyone give me an advise? I don't know what to do...
Thank you very much for your time!

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 12:30 pm

If you are not renting the common areas, then he has the right as he still controls that area. Guess you just cannot be chasing each other buck naked around the house and will have to keep it confined to the bedroom. :wink:

You state you rented a room but go on to indicate "in your own apartment" it's not your apartment, only the room is yours. If he rents out other bedrooms, who is responsible for the common areas. Probably he is, therefore he has every right to protect what's his.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by x9200 » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 1:38 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:If you are not renting the common areas, then he has the right as he still controls that area. Guess you just cannot be chasing each other buck naked around the house and will have to keep it confined to the bedroom. :wink:

You state you rented a room but go on to indicate "in your own apartment" it's not your apartment, only the room is yours. If he rents out other bedrooms, who is responsible for the common areas. Probably he is, therefore he has every right to protect what's his.
He does rent the common areas only he does not do it exclusively.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 2:22 pm

No, he's given access to the common areas of the house, he rents the room. Just like a condo, you rent the condo, you are given usage of the common facilities by the management committee but you cannot do as you please in the common facilities. Instead you must abide by the management committee's rules & regulations. Oh, most of the facilities are usually watched by CCTV's as well. :wink:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by poodlek » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 2:35 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:No, he's given access to the common areas of the house, he rents the room. Just like a condo, you rent the condo, you are given usage of the common facilities by the management committee but you cannot do as you please in the common facilities. Instead you must abide by the management committee's rules & regulations. Oh, most of the facilities are usually watched by CCTV's as well. :wink:
Makes sense in theory, in practice, it's still pretty freaking creepy. If you're out laying by the pool in a condo's "common area" you have a reasonable expectation of being seen by others (not just on CCTV) and should dress and behave accordingly. Within the common area of an apartment, with the curtains drawn and nobody else home, I would expect to have a certain amount of privacy. However, I guess since it is a "common area" one would have to consider the CCTV as an invisible omnipresent roommate. Annoying as hell, but probably not a legal reason to break the lease. I'd be tempted to lay about in my undies and occasionally moon the cameras just to be a smartass.

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Post by cocorossello » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 2:38 pm

I can understand CCTV in condo's facilities... It's a social place and many people are there, it's not like inside your apartment. Just to go from our room to the bathroom we have to be recorded by a camera, and the point is that we are the only tenants in the unit right now... so, what's the point of recording us? They don't allow visits, but there is always a security agent in the building....


For me, it's very disturbing to have cameras inside the apartment, and also having the landlord coming to the house frequently just to check if it's clean, if we are there.... I don't feel at my house at all

But i guess is something "usual" here.... It's a shame, really. I never had such a bad experience renting a room or an apartment (also paying so much for just a room)

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Post by JayCee » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 2:57 pm

cocorossello wrote: For me, it's very disturbing to have cameras inside the apartment, and also having the landlord coming to the house frequently just to check if it's clean, if we are there.... I don't feel at my house at all
That's the thing though, it's not 'your' house even though it may feel like it as you're (luckily for you) the only tenants there.

I guess you need to realise that just because the other rooms aren't taken yet it doesn't mean that the whole place is yours, you're paying to rent a room and not for the common areas too so the landlord is entitled to do what he wants with those, as creepy as it may be.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 3:02 pm

You, of course, are aware by now, of the cost of units here, I'm sure. It only takes one bad tenant to rip off the owner or trash the place before the landlord says, "This sucks. Tenant was here a couple of months, trashed the house and disappeared! Now it will cost me 2x more than the security deposit to refurbish the place before I can rent it out again. Meanwhile the unit is empty, costing me even more money!"

So, a couple of hundred to install cctv and voila! problem, while not solved, has lessened the probability of it happening again.

Do you think it's wrong to install a cctv in your own home to keep an eye on an aging parent, or the type of traffic that happens if you have teens, or a maid who might be fresh from the provinces?
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by x9200 » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 3:11 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:No, he's given access to the common areas of the house, he rents the room. Just like a condo, you rent the condo, you are given usage of the common facilities by the management committee but you cannot do as you please in the common facilities. Instead you must abide by the management committee's rules & regulations. Oh, most of the facilities are usually watched by CCTV's as well. :wink:
Leaving aside for a moment the cctv thing... how can you tell the difference? It is both the right of access and use the only difference is the exclusivity.

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Post by cocorossello » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 3:16 pm

Well, you can install install CCTV if you have a strong suspect that is going to happen something, you don't do it by default, that's why Im saying that here in Singapore is more usual, it must be a cultural thing.

Also, privacy is violated in terms of "security" (is a false security). You don't put a camera to control your own teens, they are people and you have to give them freedom and obligations, you have to educate them and prevent....

For a maid, I would only do it if I had strong evidences that she is not a good person. And for old people, I can understand....

Anyway, as I said, it's a cultural thing. You should trust people by default rather than controlling them by default.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 3:18 pm

The same exclusivity exists for condo renters as well when using the condo's facilities. Outsiders cannot come in and use the facilities willy-nilly. The Renter's/owners have right of access, but outsiders must be invited in. This is even controlled by guards manning the gate as well - owners usually have a card that's read by machine - kind of like the lock on the front door isn't it?...
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 3:23 pm

cocorossello wrote:Well, you can install install CCTV if you have a strong suspect that is going to happen something, you don't do it by default, that's why Im saying that here in Singapore is more usual, it must be a cultural thing.

Also, privacy is violated in terms of "security" (is a false security). You don't put a camera to control your own teens, they are people and you have to give them freedom and obligations, you have to educate them and prevent....

For a maid, I would only do it if I had strong evidences that she is not a good person. And for old people, I can understand....

Anyway, as I said, it's a cultural thing. You should trust people by default rather than controlling them by default.
Don't think it's cultural at all, I think it's just becoming much more affordable to now protect one's property. In the early years, you had barbed wire, later on you had motionsensor lights, Now, anybody can set up a camera system that can be accessed by mobile phone for less than a new set of rubber for your car. Sure you trust your kids. But do you always trust your kids friends? Do you even know for sure who their friends & acquaintances are? Is your maid having the cleaners over for lunch? Technology has made security much more affordable for the masses, that's all.

What happens when the renter leave the house unlocked by accident? At least the owner has something to go on.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by x9200 » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 3:50 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The same exclusivity exists for condo renters as well when using the condo's facilities.
Yes, and I think is the same also for a condo. Now back to the cctv. In the condo you have the condo regulation and this is typically stated in the TA. For a private flat, the TA is the only document. Beside, IMO the poodlek's point is very valid - you expect cctv in the public area (yes, with all the condo restrictions, this is a public area). A common room in the rented flat is not a public area. Renting a room hardly anybody expect to be cctved even in the shared apartment. A different situation if this is clearly said right from the start.

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Post by JayCee » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 3:56 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Outsiders cannot come in and use the facilities willy-nilly. The Renter's/owners have right of access, but outsiders must be invited in. This is even controlled by guards manning the gate as well -
Assuming those guards are actually doing something other than sitting on their arses reading a newspaper or playing cards with eachother. I've yet to see a condo security guard do any work in the dozens of ones I've visited and certainly have never been stopped walking into the main entrance of any of them

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Post by JR8 » Thu, 20 Jan 2011 4:49 pm

Did you think of putting a plastic bag over the camera?

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