CCTV is an important outdoor security feature. However, it can also become a source of tension between you and your neighbours. There are laws in place to protect homeowner privacy, so you need to make sure you point your cameras in the right place, and that your home security cameras are GDPR compliant.
The below guide answers all the questions you might have about installing home CCTV cameras on your property.
What does GDPR compliant CCTV mean?
In the UK, CCTV cameras need to be GDPR compliant. This means that you need to have a valid reason for collecting data, such as for privacy purposes. You also need to notify your neighbours, informing them that you have set up CCTV. Any video recordings of anything outside of your private boundaries will be subject to data protection laws.
Check out the government’s list of GDPR compliance rules for more information.
Do I need permission to install CCTV?
In general, you don’t need permission to install CCTV on your own property. Some exceptions do apply, like if you live in a conservation area, or on a listed property. In these cases, you may need to apply for planning permission before you can install outdoor cameras.
If your CCTV camera captures people outside of the boundaries of your home (such as a neighbour’s house or garden, or a public area), then you’ll need to make sure your CCTV is GDPR and DPA compliant. If you don’t, this could result in regulatory action by the Information Commissioner’s Office, as well as legal action by any neighbour or affected individual.
How long can I keep my CCTV footage for?
In order to be GDPR compliant, you’re not allowed to keep any footage recorded on your security cameras for longer than is necessary to protect your property. This means you should delete the footage as soon as you no longer need it. This allows for enough time to review the footage, should you need to.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recommends you regularly or automatically delete footage. Having a clear retention policy in place is also a good idea.
Can I access my CCTV footage remotely?
Modern security cameras allow you to access footage remotely from your smartphone or computer, connecting your outdoor cameras to your smart home system. Some work with Wi-Fi and wireless features whilst others have apps you can download onto all of your devices.
You can also get night vision cameras that give you full HD quality both day and night. In fact, night vision captures completely pitch black environments whilst still producing a high-quality resolution image.
It all depends on the model you opt for, and how much money you want to spend. Thinking of getting security cameras installed? Speak to a security specialist today.
Where can I point my CCTV?
You’re not allowed to point home CCTV cameras directly at your neighbour’s property, or into any spaces where they can reasonably demand privacy (such as a back garden). Doing so is an invasion of privacy, and can result in your neighbours taking legal action against you.
Be careful about where you point your cameras. Their purpose is to capture useful footage, so the best spot for security cameras is normally at the entrance to your property, or in hidden spots that are more likely to be targeted by intruders. In some cases, it might be hard to set up CCTV without invading your neighbours privacy. If this is the case, you might want to consider alternative methods of increasing your home’s security, such as floodlights. Floodlights are a great deterrent against burglars, especially motion detection lights.
If your cameras do capture your neighbours, do not use that footage or share it with anyone else.
What can I do if my neighbours are pointing CCTV at my house?
Having CCTV cameras pointed at your house can feel like an invasion of privacy, especially if the cameras are directed to one of your bedrooms or your bathroom.
- The first thing you should do is speak to your neighbour, as they may not have realised their cameras are bothering you, and might be happy to adjust them away from your property.
- If your neighbour refuses to move their camera(s), check UK laws on CCTV to see if your neighbour is breaching regulations. Domestic CCTV cameras rules dictate that a person should stop recording someone if that person objects to being recorded, in instances where it’s possible to do so (e.g. your neighbour can point the camera in a different direction whilst still keeping their property safe).
- If raising the issue informally doesn’t work, we recommend you try a mediation service.
- As a last resort, you could hire a neighbour disputes solicitor, but we don’t recommend you take legal action, as this can be very expensive.
- For more help and advice, you can also contact the ICO or your local council.
You’re in your right to request a part of the footage from your neighbour so that you can see what exactly they’re recording. You can also try requesting that your neighbours place a privacy masking feature on their security cameras which blocks out certain parts of the footage, such as your windows.
Want peace of mind? Check out our home security blog, or speak to a CCTV specialist today to start improving your home’s security.