Are there hidden cameras in your vacation rental? Here’s what to know

As technology advances, cameras become smaller, cheaper and easier to hide.

If you’re unaware of cameras in a vacation rental, that could be a major violation of your privacy.

There are some laws and policies that offer some protections for people staying in vacation homes.

Hidden camera laws

Recording video in private spaces, especially if it includes sound, is a crime in many states.

In Michigan, it is not a crime for owners of rental properties to set up video-only cameras (meaning no audio) and record their guests without their guests’ knowledge. Unless the recording is for a “lewd” or “lascivious” purpose. If people are being recorded for “lewd purposes” in Michigan then it is a crime.

Florida is similar in that there appears to be no criminal statute which outright prohibits non-audio surveillance in a residential structure unless the recording is being used for “amusement, profit, or other similar improper” reasons.

Vacation rental policies

Regardless of the laws, vacation rental companies have their own policies regarding audio and video recording in a rental property.

Vrbo has a policy that surveillance devices, which include video or audio recording, can’t be used inside of a property. Security devices and smart doorbells outside of the property are allowed to record audio and video if they follow certain rules. They must be for security purposes and the renters must be made aware of them.

Airbnb has a policy that does allow security cameras and noise monitoring devices as long as they are disclosed in the listing description and “don’t infringe on another person’s privacy”. Airbnb allows cameras in public spaces and common areas as long as the renter is aware. Monitoring devices have to be installed where people can see them and they should not monitor bedrooms, bathrooms or other areas that

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