Can my neighbor have a camera pointing only at my house?

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Can my neighbor have a camera pointing only at my house?

My family and I recently moved into a house. We just noticed our neighbor who lives behind us have a camera points directly at our deck and sliding glass doors. I asked my neighbor that live next to me about it and he said she used it to watch the previous tenant. Can I do anything about it legally? Especially considering it’s only pointing at my house and no where near her property.

Asked on February 25, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you might try and speak with your neighbor about this and express your conderns regarding your privacy being breached. If they refuse to move the camera, you might consider "self-help" alternatives such as planting trees/shrubs or installing install a tall fence that will give your backyard some cover. If that fails, then you can call an attorney. The laws regarding surveillance vary from state-to-state. In some, visual recording is not illegal so long as the camera is on your neighbor’s property. In others, visual recording is permissable but audio recording is not. And in still other states, all forms of recording might face criminal and/or civil penalties. Generally, any publically viewable areas fair game (just think Google Street View), so you may not be able to claim invasion of privacy (but then again you may be able to depending on the circumstances). However, if the videotaping interferes with your reasonable use of your property and is not reasonably justified (i.e. done for purposes of safety and/or security), then it could be deemed a "nuisance", so you may have a claim for damages. Accordingly, consulting directly with an attorney at this point might be adviseable. In fact, a basic demand letter from a lawyer might convince your neighbor that you will not submit to their snooping, even if you would not ultimately proceed to court with such a claim.


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