Can Tenants Install Security Cameras (Systems) Inside or Outside the Apartments

Whether tenants can install security cameras is a concern for many apartment dwellers.

With soaring housing prices around metropolitan and big cities, buying houses in the city is increasingly stressful, especially for young people like fresh graduates.

Therefore, millions of people seek alternatives by renting an apartment or communally living with others in a shared apartment unit.

However, apartment dwellers are faced with pressing security concerns and it’s urgent for them to boost apartment security by taking necessary precautions.

There are many great tips for securing your apartments, for example, deadbolt locks, window lock, security cameras, and alarm systems.

And today, we are gonna work on the issues about the cameras on the rental property, and try to reach a conclusion on whether a tenant can install a security camera outside and inside in California, Ontario Canada, and other places.


Why Tenants Need Security Cameras (Systems) after Renting Apartments

There are growing necessities for apartment security cameras and systems, these trivial matters could add up to be a colossal nuisance.

  • Landlord enters my apartment without prior notice;
  • Landlord unlocks my apartment for maintenance or repair workers without my consent;
  • Suspicious activities next door, afraid of unwanted troubles;
  • Strangers kept knocking at the door while at home;
  • The rented apartment is old and can be easily broken into with very few security measures in place;
  • Landlord sneaks into the house to check on my pet while I am away;
  • Three apartments in the building directly adjacent to mine were broken into and ”cleaned out”;
  • Landlords wire his/her electronic into my apartment and I pay for the bill;
  • Have to share communal space with others you don’t know and feel unsafe;
  • Suspect roommates kept coming into my room while I am away and touched my stuff;
  • Feel like someone entered my apartment and took something but not sure what is missing;
  • Someone tried picking my lock while I was away;
  • Property managers or apartment personnel have a spare key to my apartment and get into my room without my knowledge;
  • Had a couple of attempted break-ins during broad daylight through the front door of the apartment;
  • Former tenants get access to your current place;
  • Handymen (electrician/plumber/cleaners.etc)/pet sitter has access to the apartment when you are not home;
  • Rumors said that the property managers steal stuff from tenants but no evidence;
  • Apartment with a few vulnerable spots inside the apartment (balcony/old windows);
  • The apartment is not gated, anyone or strangers could get into the building;
  • Sublet an apartment from others in a duplex and living with strangers;
  • Packages kept missing without a clue of who might have done it;

The list could go on and on, surely there are still more annoyance or agony untold by hundreds and thousands of apartment dwellers.

The overwhelming sense of insecurity and incessant hassles are the recipes for further trouble if no actions are being taken in a timely manner.

If you found yourself grappling with security issues and looking for advice on boosting security around your apartment, such as security cameras, it’s important to know ins and outs of regulations regarding surveillance in or out of the apartment.

Is It Legal for Tenant to Use Video Cameras

Generally, the Supreme Court held that tenants are generally entitled to use exterior parts and general parts of a rented building, provided that they have a legitimate interest, the building is not damaged and the other residents are not disturbed or impaired in their interests.

So make sure that the security camera is positioned in a way that it can catch only the rented apartment, and it will not violate the privacy of other tenants, their guests, and the neighborhoods. Otherwise, you are very likely to have legal issues with the security camera installed around the apartment.

Can a Tenant Install Security Cameras Inside the Apartment

In our previous articles, we discussed the legality of the landlord putting surveillance cameras around the rental property and revealed various security issues faced by tenants after renting a house.

So can you install security cameras inside your apartment? No doubt, the question strikes a chord with millions of apartment occupants as they are looking for advice on securing their apartments.

The answer is it depends.

#1. Occasions Tenants Can Install Security Cameras

If you are open to Wire-free security cameras, like the wire-free ZOSI C1, which requires no drilling or damage to the apartment, it should be okay to watch over the apartment door and pets (possibly) as long as it doesn’t implicate privacy violation of other roommates (if there is any).

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Or you may take a look at the Wifi security cameras for a small apartment which involves less physical wiring, and you can avoid drilling on the surface of your apartment or any mutilation of the property if planned ahead.

For these two kinds of cameras without drilling, of course, the answer is YES, just as you bring home a TV.

#2. Occasions Tenants May Not Allowed to Install Security Cameras

However, it doesn’t hold true for tenants in some circumstances where you need written permission from landlords or sort of rent regulatory body (such as apartment association) if you opt for contract alarm servicesecurity cameras with professional installation, or hard-wired security system.

If you take the liberty to install surveillance cameras or alarm systems without the landlord’s permission or proper consultation, such as on the apartment door, inside the apartment, you will be held accountable for the property damage, which could result in your security deposit being withheld by landlords.

Of course, the corresponding consequence varies in different circumstances, it’s important to notify landlord beforehand to avoid unnecessary disputes and gain consent from them, as well as drawing up some sort legal document to protect your legal right in cases there is any dispute in the future, just to be safe.

Then Can a Tenant Install Security Cameras Outside the Apartment

Many apartment tenants are thinking about putting security cameras outside their rented apartment to keep tabs on the people coming and going outside the apartments.

However, it seems to place security cameras outside their apartment such as a hallway, the staircase, is not in the territory of tenants or renters’ right, by doing so will solicit opposition from other tenants and spark concerns.

Even though landlords gave green light to the security camera in the apartment hallway, the surveillance cameras around apartment public areas will still be subject to abuse for other exterior motives, for example, learning about neighbor’s routine to plot break-in or attack, especially for a single woman living alone.

One tenant, in particular, voiced concerns about being watched by stay-at-home-all-day neighbor every single day coming and going in and out of the apartment building or apartment complexes.

If you found out other tenants install security cameras around common areas, it’s better to touch base with landlords and notify them the nuisance and implication, if the matter was left unresolved, you can talk to your neighbor and consult local police about the matter.

If you are planning to install security cameras, maybe it would be better you and other tenants work together to demand landlords to install security cameras in common areas to avoid unnecessary outlay or hassles with neighbors.


Tenants either renting a house or apartment unit are entitled to feel safe and unthreatened by unanticipated dangers. Security measures in place are essential to protect you and your family.

No matter what kind of security measures you are aiming for, it’s important to touch base with property owners, apartment associations, or landlords to eliminate misunderstanding.

If you really have no idea whether it is legal to install security cameras inside or outside the apartment in your region, as a tenant, it’s advised to call the District Attorney’s office to try and clarify the ruling for a tenant who desires to use a video camera anywhere in or on their apartment complex.