If I’m a tenant and found a hidden camera inside the wall, is this legal?

Asked on June 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I assume that the wall in which you found the hidden camera is in your apartment or rental.  It would be illegal and would be an invasion of privacy.  Invasion of privacy is a serious interference with your right to be left alone and protected from unwarranted and undesired intrusions of a private nature.  This invasion of privacy would apply to your home or another place where you were entitled to believe you were safe from unwanted intrusions.

The problem however is determining whether the camera was placed in the wall by the landlord or perhaps someone else spying on a former tenant in order to name the appropriate defendant(s) in your lawsuit.  Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) for invasion of privacy would include mental distress.  Punitive damages which are a substantial amount to punish the intentional and malicious act of the defendant would also be applicable.

If the hidden camera is not in your rental, but is in the wall of a common area of the apartment complex for security reasons, then you would not have a claim for invasion of privacy.


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