As an Airbnb host, you want to keep your guests happy, comfortable, and safe, all while protecting your property. Many Airbnb hosts have turned to surveillance cameras to keep an eye on their property, which can be a great idea. as long as you are following Airbnb’s policies (and the law).
Today we will discuss the implementation of surveillance cameras in your Airbnb, best practices, and what Airbnb’s policies require.
Why Should I Install Surveillance Cameras in an Airbnb?
As the owner of a home, apartment, or townhome that you plan to rent out (to mostly unknown individuals), having video surveillance cameras installed can give you a bit of peace of mind that if something were to happen—theft, vandalism, other criminal activity taking place on your property— that solid video evidence could be helpful should you need to file a complaint or even pursue prosecution.
As an Airbnb host, video surveillance may also help you identify if your guests are trying to sneak in more people than they have paid for. Having video surveillance can also be a crime deterrent. Most folks will think twice about committing a crime if they know they are on camera.
What are Airbnb’s rules about security cameras and other recording devices in listings?
Our Standards & Expectations require that all members of the Airbnb community respect each other’s privacy. More specifically, we require hosts to disclose all security cameras and other recording devices in their listings, and we prohibit any security cameras and other recording devices that are in or that observe the interior of certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms), regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed. Intentionally concealed recording devices (such as hidden security cameras) are never permitted.
Rules for hosts
If you’re a host and you have any type of security camera and/or other recording device in or around a listing, even if it’s not turned on or hooked up, we require that you indicate its presence in the Things to know section under Health & safety. We also require you to disclose how guests will be monitored and if an active recording is taking place. If a host discloses the device after booking, Airbnb will allow the guest to cancel the reservation and receive a refund. Host cancellation penalties may apply. Find out how to disclose info about security cameras and recording devices. Different rules apply for listings in mainland China.
Rules for guests
If you’re a guest, our Standards & Expectations require that you not spy on other people, or otherwise violate others’ privacy. Our policy prohibits the use of a security camera or any other recording device by a guest to monitor a host or any third party present in the listing without the consent of that person. We encourage you to discuss the use of security cameras and other recording devices by using Airbnb’s messaging feature.
Violating this policy may result in your suspension or removal from the Airbnb community. In addition, you should ensure that your use of security cameras and other recording devices is consistent with applicable local laws and regulations.
What’s considered a security camera or a recording device
Any mechanism that can be used to capture or transmit audio, video, or still images is subject to these rules. This includes, but is not limited to, things like Wi-Fi cameras (for example, Nest Cam or Dropcam), nanny cameras, web cameras in computer monitors, baby monitors, mounted or installed surveillance systems, decibel and device monitors, and smart phones with video and/or audio recording capabilities.
7 Tips on Spotting a Hidden Airbnb Camera
Read the rental property description and examine property photos carefully
Airbnb owners are allowed to have cameras outdoors, but they must be disclosed ahead of time. Indoor cameras in private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms are NOT allowed – even if the host tells you about them.
Get to know what today’s spy cameras can look like
Cameras today are so small they can be hidden nearly anywhere. The smallest ones are called pinhole cameras because all they need is a tiny pinhole to capture what’s going on. Most spy cameras are wireless and don’t have cables, making them easy to install anywhere.
Ask the property host if there are any hidden cameras in the property
When you’re face to face with the property host at check-in, look them in the eye and ask them if there are any cameras you should know about. This tactic works fairly well since it’s harder to lie to someone in person.
Search the property when you check in
Once you arrive, check each room for any electronics or devices that seem out of place. Check for unusual brands on wall devices and electronic equipment. Use a flashlight on all surfaces to uncover reflective camera lenses. Peek behind air vents where cameras can be easily hidden. Unplug, store or rearrange any item that seems unusual.
Use an app to detect hidden Airbnb cameras
You can use a smartphone app to scan the devices attached to the property’s network to find Wi-Fi cameras. This won’t work with wired (power-over-ethernet) cameras. Some apps can also detect infrared cameras.
Use a handheld spy camera detector
Cameras are so tiny they can be hidden nearly anywhere. Some cameras use radio frequencies, others are wired and many are wireless. Amazon sells a detector that can spot them all. The device accurately detects the position of spy cameras, GPS tracking devices and audio bugs.
Search for an Airbnb camera at night
Most spy cameras can record at night because they’re equipped with night vision infrared rays. The rays are invisible to us but you can see them using your smartphone. Wait until it gets dark, put your phone in camera mode as if you’re about to take a photo, and scan the room looking for small lights that you can only see on your smartphone screen. If you spot any, you’ve discovered the location of a night vision camera.