Earlier this week, a woman claimed on Twitter that she had found hidden cameras in her Airbnb. After the Philadelphia Police Department conducted an investigation, they determined that there were no hidden cameras, according to Yahoo.
Are cameras legal in vacation rentals? This scenario raises a question: If there were cameras in a vacation rental, would they be allowed?
- Airbnb’s policy states that hosts are allowed to place recording devices in their rentals. However, there are strict rules.
- They only allow “disclosed devices monitoring only public spaces and common spaces.” This includes devices that are only used to monitor a public space such as a front door or a driveway.
- They don’t allow cameras in sleeping areas or bathrooms, or undisclosed cameras in public spaces. Basically, if there is a camera in the rental, the host should make you aware of that.
- Cameras are also not allowed in living rooms with beds to sleep in, Airbnb says.
- Vrbo, another vacation rental site, also has a strict policy, stating that cameras or recording devices of any kind are not allowed inside of the rental.
- However, they do allow cameras outside of the property for security purposes, and they must be disclosed to the renter.
Still worried about cameras? Here are some ways you can find hidden cameras, according to Fox News.
- Flash test: Turn off all of the lights in the room. Using the flashlight on your phone, scan the room looking for any reflections. Inspect the walls, vents or any unusual holes.
- RF detector: An RF detector is a device that detects other wireless gadgets. You can purchase one on Amazon for under $50, and it can be used to alert you of any wireless recording devices.
- Network watcher: There are also free programs that can tell you all devices hooked up to a Wi-Fi network. If you can connect to the Wi-Fi on the property, you can download a program that shows all devices connected to the Wi-Fi, which could identify potential cameras.
If you find a camera: Alert the police.
- Fox says that in most states, it is illegal to record or take pictures of someone in a private area due to the Federal Video Voyeurism Act.
- If you are being recorded in a private area, such as a bedroom, bathroom or sleeping area, it might be a good idea to make the police aware of the situation.
- You can also call the company you are renting with, such as Airbnb or Vrbo. Rental companies usually have customer help lines and can help you get into another rental property.