There are many different factors that prospective unit owners contemplate when looking to buy a unit. Aesthetics, price, and location are important, for sure. But perhaps the most critical factors of all are the safety of the building and the neighborhood it’s in.
Despite the country's urban areas reporting fewer serious crimes in recent years, it would be naïve—not to mention irresponsible—not to take proper steps to safeguard one's home and loved ones. To that end, most community associations and boards of directors employ some sort of surveillance on their properties to keep watch over them in a visible way, and give residents a sense of security. Unit owners can expect to see those ubiquitous cameras in hallways, in garages or parking areas, near elevators, and at common areas like pools, tennis courts, or other amenities.
Do Cameras Really Provide Security?
Fundamentally, cameras are just mechanical eyes. While they may deter crime to some degree, when it comes to security, their prime purpose is to record happenings in an environment for use later by association boards and hired security staff if a problem is reported.
That’s the catch. Whether or not there are security stations and guards on a property, it’s rare that someone is sitting there watching the surveillance video feed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some attorneys caution unit owners that having cameras on site doesn’t mean that the environment is safer than if they were absent.
“It's going to create an expectation that the condo association is going to assume some liability. That's not necessarily the case. You don't want to install a bunch of cameras and all of the sudden the residents start thinking that if I do get broken into, the association is admitting that they're liable because they're installing cameras. You don't want that assumption to occur,” says Michael D. Mirne of the Law Offices of Michael D. Mirne, LLC in Ocean, New Jersey, whose practice concentrates in the area of landlord-tenant law, tax appeals, zoning and land use.