By Gary M. Singer
(MCT)—QUESTION: Our new next-door neighbor has installed several video cameras that are pointing into our yard and house. So video is being taken of our family in the yard and pool and through the windows into our house. While we can understand that he may want to protect his home, we are deeply concerned about losing our privacy and, frankly, it’s creeping us out. What can we do?
ANSWER: While the law allows your neighbor to take reasonable measures to protect his home, it also recognizes your right to privacy and seclusion. Your neighbor could face civil liability if he is intentionally intruding on your privacy in a way that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, going beyond all boundaries of decency.
So his cameras pointing generally toward your yard would not be actionable, but, for example, a telephoto lens pointing directly into your bedroom window might be. Further, if your neighbor is using the cameras for no legitimate purpose other than to cause you distress, he might be guilty of “stalking.”
Before looking to the courts for assistance, you can take a few steps to resolve the problem. Go speak with your neighbor and let him know that the cameras bother you. Ask him to adjust the angle of the camera downward and away from your house. You should check your homeowner’s association manual and city ordinances to see if your community has rules against this behavior. Seek enforcement if they do. You might also consider installing a high fence or privacy shrubs, which should make you feel better.
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar.
©2013 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
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