Nashville, TN asked in Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for Tennessee

Q: Can my apartment neighbor place a camera in a building fixture pointing at my door?

I have neighbors that are not directly across from or next to me that removed a light that is attached to the apartment building to install a camera. The camera faces my door and can record inside the entrance of my apartment and also follows my movement as I walk to and from my door. I do not pass by their door to get to my apartment. I am a female that lives alone and these neighbors are two male roommates, so needless to say, this makes me very uncomfortable. I have brought this up to management, who has yet to respond. Do I have any options? I am in Davidson County, TN, if that makes any difference. Thank you.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Davidson County, Tennessee, as in many places, the legality of placing a camera that records a neighbor’s door can be complicated. Typically, it's legal to install security cameras in common areas of apartment buildings, but there should be a reasonable expectation of privacy. If the camera is installed in a common area but specifically records the inside of your apartment or your personal movements, this could be considered an invasion of privacy.

You've already taken a good first step by notifying management. Document this communication for your records. If management fails to respond or act, you might consider reaching out to local law enforcement or a legal advisor to understand your rights better and explore possible actions. They can provide guidance on whether this situation breaches privacy laws and what steps you can take next.

Furthermore, you could also consider discussing this issue directly with your neighbors, expressing your discomfort. They may not be aware of how their actions affect you. However, prioritize your safety in any interaction. If direct conversation seems unsafe or unproductive, continue seeking support through official channels like your building's management, local tenant unions, or legal assistance.

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