Is it legal to record audio and video of someone being shown a home without consent or warning?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to record audio and video of someone being shown a home without consent or warning?

I was informed today that a seller observed and recorded my wife and I while we were being shown. The selling agent informed my agent that there were recording devices in all rooms. Both my wife and myself used restrooms at

that house. MI surveillance and eavesdrop laws seem to contradict each other. When I reciently sold a property in TX we had to sign a document that outlined that recording of potential buyers was prohibited under federal and state law. I’m trying to determine what is legal in MI.

Asked on July 9, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) It is legal to videotape someone in MI without their knowledge or consent IF the videotaping is done in a place where they do not have a "reasonable expectation" of privacy--that is, in a location where people do not believe they may not be observed. In someone else's living room or kitchen, etc., that would be legal--you do not reasonably expecte privacy in *another* person's home. However, videotaping you in the bathroom is illegal, since people reasonably expect privacy inthe bathroom.
2) It is NEVER legal in your state to audio record a conversation which you are not part of--unless the people your record consent or agree to the recording. Since the buyer was (we presume) not there and not talking to you, he/she was not part of the conversation and could not record it. Illegally audio recording someone is a crime: it is the equivalent of wiretapping.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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