Home Security

Can My Neighbor Record Me On My Property?

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Hand holding a camera lens with lake and trees in background
Is your neighbor secretly recording you from far away? What can you do about it?

Maybe your neighbor has a habit of videotaping everything they or their family members do, and sometimes this includes you, your home, or your family. Or maybe your neighbor has security cameras on their property that constantly point towards your home. If this is the case, you may be wondering if you can legally be recorded on your own property, and if it’s within your rights to ask them to stop.

Is My Neighbor Allowed To Video Record Me?

When you are on your own private property, you expect a certain level of privacy. But, if you are coming home each day with the same feeling of being watched, it can degrade the value of your home to you and your ability to relax and be yourself.

If this is the situation you find yourself in, you may be asking whether or not you can do anything to get your privacy back. Truthfully, it may depend on what exactly is going on in your neighborhood.

Can My Neighbor Audio Record Me On My Property?

A white security camera mounted on a large outdoor brick wall covered in vines.
This video camera is pointed from your neighbor’s property right at yours. Are you allowed to task them to shut it off?

You may not see any video cameras pointed toward your home, but you may have noticed that your neighbor knows something that they would only know if they had somehow been listening in. Or perhaps they have even brought you recordings of your own voice saying something or your dog barking at something.

In these cases, you may be wondering if your neighbors are listening in to your conversations and daily life, and you may be wondering if that is legal or not. There is no simple one-size-fits-all answer to this question because whether or not the recording is legal depends heavily on a number of factors.

What The Federal Law Says

According to federal law, one-party consent is legal. This means that the person recording the conversation is part of it, or one of the individuals in the conversation has consented to the recording. In other words, your neighbor wouldn’t need your consent as well to record you, they would only need their own. I know, sounds kind of ridiculous, since why would they not provide their own consent, right?

Can My Neighbor Video Record Me On My Property?

Like audio recordings, whether or not the recording is legal depends on the context. Most of the legislature that we have in the U.S. about legal and illegal recording comes from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. This privacy act focuses much more on electronic and audio recording (since video recording was not as wide spread in the 80’s as it is today, nearly four decades later); because of this, we do not have a lot of rules on what is and is not legal as far as video recording goes.

Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy

That being said, a reasonable expectation of privacy is often accepted in places such as locker rooms, bathrooms, dressing rooms, private bedrooms, and any other area where one would expect privacy. In these instances, video recording would be considered illegal.

Can My Neighbor Record My Property (i.e. My House Or Backyard)?

Maybe your neighbor isn’t recording you directly, perhaps they are recording a particular area on their property but also are capturing a portion of your property. Or perhaps they have security cameras set up that are directly facing your property, but not intended to capture you.

In other words, can your neighbor record your property (minus yourself); for example, your backyard, without your permission?

Unfortunately, this is another one of those legal grey areas. Your neighbor has the right to install security cameras that face your property, and you have the right to an expectation of privacy on your property.

So, which right wins out here? In truth, it will depend on the situation. So long as your neighbor’s cameras do not violate your privacy rights by not recording locations where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, they are allowed to use them.

That’s the federal laws. What about laws that are particular to the state you reside in?

Can My Neighbor Record Me On My Property In…Texas? California?

Now, you may be wondering, do these rules about recording people without their permission differ by state? The simple answer to this question is yes. While Federal law states that one-party consent is enough to legalize recording a conversation, there are other rules that some states follow that require more than just one-party consent. You can look at this table for a complete list of state rulings.

For instance, while Texas shares the federal law’s ruling that one-party consent is enough, California requires all-party consent for a recording to be legal.

What Can I Do If My Neighbor Is Recording Me Without My Permission?

No one wants to be constantly watched or recorded without their consent. While you are in public, there are certain levels of privacy that you are not going to have simply because there are so many people doing things all at once. But, when you get home — to your private property — that changes.

When you are at home, you should not feel worried about being recorded or watched. So, if your neighbor infringes on your privacy at home, here are a few things you can do.

Gather Evidence

Without proof of something happening, it is all too common for uncomfortable situations to become a game of he-said-she-said. Not having any evidence can cause problems down the road and leave you with no real solution to the unwanted recording that your neighbors are doing.

Keep detailed records of when you are notice your neighbors recording you — with dates and times. This information can be helpful later on if you decide to go to court for the issue.

Confront Them

Woman leaning across table shaking hand of another woman
Staying on friendly terms with your neighbor (if possible) is always going to lead to the best outcome.

Sometimes a simple conversation is all you need to solve an issue. For example, if your neighbors are recording you and you are uncomfortable with that, you can always go directly to the source and tell them.

If you decide to confront your neighbors, ensure that you are doing so in a friendly manner. You do not want to start a conflict in the neighborhood or give neighbors that already seem to not respect your privacy any reason to want to continue recording you.

Protect Your Privacy

A privacy fence showing the before and after along with height options ranging from 4 to 8 feet
This privacy fence, available on Amazon, comes in several different sizes and is designed for outdoors.

If you don’t want to confront your neighbors or you have tried talking to them, and it hasn’t seemed to change anything, you can take other measures to help shield your property from others. For example, you could install a privacy fence around your yard or up your gardening game by adding some taller trees and shrubs around your property. Another option is to use a patio umbrella or awning to shield your patio from unwanted attention.

File A Complaint

If you have tried other solutions, like talking to your neighbors or putting in new patio furniture, or you simply want to get your neighbors to stop violating your privacy at home, you can file a formal complaint. To do this, you will need to go to your local municipal office and tell them about your situation. Again, any evidence you have here can be a great help.

Once you have filed a complaint with your county, it will begin an investigation to see if your neighbor is violating any privacy laws. They could be subject to fines or even jail time if they violate these laws.

Best Outdoor Security Cameras

No one wants to have to deal with neighborhood drama, but sometimes you and your neighbors just do not see eye-to-eye. One area that can become quite the contention for a lot of neighbors is accidental (or intentional) recording of people and property without permission.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of any unwanted recording, you may be entitled to take action and get them to stop. And of course, you can always take things into your own hands. If they’re recording you, why not record them back? Our experts pick out the best outdoor security cameras.

Alex Schenker

Alex holds BS degrees in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego, and Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is honored to share his nearly two decades of experience in home security and automation, cybersecurity and identity theft protection with our readers. He realized it was time for a home security system when his neighbor’s house got broken into. He has tried to stay ahead of the curve by proactively applying security technologies and software that protect not only his home and family but his personal identity, sensitive information and finances. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing tennis, going on hikes with his wife and dogs and surfing.

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