Home Blog Premises Liability Is Your Privacy at Risk? What to Do About Hidden Cameras in Your Vacation Rental

Is Your Privacy at Risk? What to Do About Hidden Cameras in Your Vacation Rental

By Eugene Bruno on July 31, 2023

You’ve worked hard all year and deserve a vacation, but before you head out of town for some fun and relaxation, think about how you will feel knowing that someone may be spying on you in your vacation rental.

Booking sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and others offer more comfortable digs than a traditional hotel, but how much can you trust that your host will respect and protect your privacy? From the host’s perspective, cameras can provide legitimate protection from theft, damage, noise complaints, and other problems, but the trade-off is potentially compromising guest privacy.

Invasion of privacy can be the basis of a claim against your host if the host’s actions violate your reasonable expectation of privacy and cause you harm. Generally speaking, the law on invasion of privacy is a balancing act between the host’s legitimate interest in security and the guest’s legitimate interest in privacy. The mere presence of a security camera inside your vacation rental may not give rise to a valid claim. However, if you find cameras in places where you should reasonably expect privacy, such as bedrooms or bathrooms, or if you find a hidden camera that was not disclosed in the listing, your host may have illegally invaded your privacy, and you may have a valid claim. Keep in mind, each case is different, and each potential invasion of privacy claim must be evaluated based on its particular circumstances.

As your trusted San Diego injury lawyers, Eugene Bruno & Associates want to help you understand how to safeguard your privacy during your vacation and what steps you can take to protect yourself before you go.

  1. Know the Rules

Airbnb, VRBO, HouseTrip, and other booking sites each have their own policies regarding a host’s use and disclosure of cameras. Before booking, it is important to review and understand the booking site’s policies. Most commonly, these rules prohibit cameras in private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms because it is reasonable to expect privacy in those places. Hosts may maintain cameras in common spaces, but they must disclose the presence of common area cameras in their listing. Make sure to read the host’s listing description carefully and pay attention to details such as the location of cameras and how long camera data will be retained by the host. If you have any questions, message the host directly.

  1. Read Reviews

Check out what previous guests say in their reviews. If previous guests have had concerns about cameras or privacy issues, you should be extra cautious and maybe choose a different rental.

  1. Check for Yourself

When you arrive at the rental, look around for cameras. Most site rules require hosts to disclose the presence and location of cameras, but check for yourself to make sure there are no undisclosed, hidden cameras. Look carefully in and around corners, shelves, smoke detectors, vents, and other areas that might hide a camera. Using a flashlight in a darkened room, you may be able to detect hidden cameras from the glare reflected on a camera lens.

  1. Use Anti-Spy Devices

For extra security, consider using tech devices designed to detect hidden cameras. These tools can locate wireless signals that may indicate the presence of a hidden wireless camera.

  1. Tell the Host

If you find a camera in a private area, like a bedroom or bathroom, or a camera that was not disclosed in the listing, contact your host immediately. If the host doesn’t cooperate or is not helpful, contact site support and keep evidence like photos or messages.

  1. Report the Issue

If you think your privacy is being invaded, report it to the booking site as soon as possible. Give them all the information you have, like pictures or messages. Most booking sites take these concerns seriously and will look into the matter.

  1. Choose Safety First

If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe because of questionable cameras or a host’s uncooperative or careless response to your privacy concerns, consider canceling your booking and finding another place to stay. Your well-being is essential, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Short-term vacation rentals are a fantastic way to experience new places, but staying in someone else’s house means you must take steps to protect your privacy. Understand the rules, read reviews, check for cameras, and use anti-spy devices if needed. If you find any issues, report them to your host or the booking site. Your safety and peace of mind matter most, so don’t hesitate to take action if you feel your privacy is at risk.

If you have been recorded by an unlawfully placed camera, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation with a San Diego premises liability lawyer, call us at 1-888-BRUNO-88 (1-888-278-6688), and from all of us at Eugene Bruno & Associates, we hope you enjoy your vacation in peace and privacy!

Posted in: Premises Liability