Is That Nanny Cam in Your Seller’s House a Lawsuit Waiting to Happen?

Nanny cams are popular with parents today. The tiny, easy-to-hide devices help parents keep tabs on their kids while they’re away. State privacy laws differ, but for the most part, you’ll want to let buyers know upfront if there’s a chance they’ll be captured on one of these or other types of surveillance devices while they’re in the house.

VRE 50 imageThe key issue is expectations of privacy. If you’re inside someone’s home, you have a right to expect a certain amount of privacy; if you’re outside—say on a public sidewalk—you can’t always expect the same level of privacy.

In a similar manner, if you’re recording a phone conversation, privacy expectations are relevant. People expect a phone conversation to be private, so you’ll want to let them know beforehand if you plan to tape the conversation as a way to  keep accurate notes or for other reasons.

These types of privacy issues are a top story in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR. The video shares excerpts from a recent video by NAR’s Legal Affairs division on what you need to know about surveillance cameras when you’re showing a house or recording a phone conversation with customers.

The video also looks at how much easier it’s going to be for your clients to get FHA insured mortgage financing for their condo purchase. Congress just passed an NAR-backed bill that makes financing available even if only 35 percent of the units in a project are owner-occupied. That’s down from a 50-percent owner occupancy ratio, a significant change that can make a big difference in a buyer’s ability to get a loan. Also, a project can have more space set aside for commercial use, a change that will be particularly helpful as more developers design projects that mix housing with retail space.

Other stories in the video look at NAR’s effort to curb accessibility lawsuits in commercial real estate and a meeting NAR hosted on Capitol Hill two weeks ago to flesh out ideas for making housing more affordable to low- and -moderate income households and to reduce homelessness.

Access The Voice for Real Estate.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at

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  1. Darren Marcy

    Key phrase from the video: “state rules could apply.”

    When it comes to recording a telephone call, you can check your state’s laws. Some states are two-party states and require that both parties know a conversation is being recorded, while other states are one-party states, which means that a person can record a phone call without notifying the other party.

    Can’t speak to video cameras.

    Is it a matter of courtesy or ethics to let the other party know they’re being recorded? Sure, but the law may not require it.

  2. Nanny cams are nothing new, so why this conversation “now” is beyond me.

    Actually I thought the article would move in a different direction, saying the cams may unwittingly indicate a Buyer’s level of motivation and therefore their willingness to pay a higher price.