Security Camera Privacy Issues in Airbnb Homes

Security Camera Privacy Issues in Airbnb Homes

Renting out your home for short stay rentals is rewarding but it comes with a risk – the security of your home. Guests may break or steal an item or two. They might violate your house rules by bringing in pets, smoking or even have a party at your unit. The truth: Things can happen in an unpredictable manner.

There are hosts who practice the usage of security cameras in their units. Then again, would this be an invasion of privacy? According to Airbnb, hosts may install security cameras within their units with certain standards and expectations to meet as follows:

  1. Hosts must disclose all surveillance and recording devices in their listings in the House Rules section.
  2. Hosts are prohibited to install any surveillance and recording devices at certain private spaces (bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.)
  3. If a host fails to disclose all surveillance and recording devices in their listings, guests can cancel their reservation and receive a refund.

What are the Laws for Security Cameras in Malaysia?

Despite the guideline provided, hosts and guests have a rather vague direction on which areas in the house where surveillance and recording devices can be placed. Spaces such as the living room and kitchen are technically “non-private” areas.

Is surveillance allowed in Airbnb homes?

In Malaysia, there is no clear law on whether such security measures taken by hosts invades the privacy of a guest. An article published by Daily Express Property revealed that in an interview by BFM with privacy law expert Fong Cheng Leong, Fong stated that “the right to privacy is the right to be left alone and the right to control information.”

“The right to privacy isn’t a very strong ‘right’ in Malaysia and isn’t highly-recognized,” added Fong. However, Fong mentioned that it is fortunate that this issue is gradually changing with the emergence of several recognized cases in these recent years.

You would have to agree that balancing home security and guest privacy is never an easy task. Hosts are constantly looking out for alternatives to safeguard their units. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a reservation just because there are added security measures to your units. Here are some measurements that you can take as a host to improve the security of your short stay units.

1. Install Security Cameras Outdoors

With an outdoor security camera, you can easily monitor and identify people coming in and out of your house. Avoid installing security cameras in your units as it may bring great discomfort to guests.

2. Vet Your Guests

Although guests are paying you to stay at your home, welcoming strangers to your home can be worrying. As Airbnb allows hosts go through guests’ profiles, you can take this opportunity to screen the background of your guest. Look out for their documents such as IC, contact number, photo, etc.

You can also always have a chat with the guest. Ask them the purpose of their visit and plans. During a chat, they may reveal some of their plans like bringing over unregistered guests. Pay extra attention to any suspicious words or sentences. It is good to be cautious but, remember not to be overly skeptical about your guests.

3. Get Insurance Coverage

There is always a possibility for a guest to damage items in your property by accident, theft incidents, fire damages, etc. Incidents such as the disappearance of guest items and accidental guest injury may happen as well. It is advisable for you to get an insurance coverage to protect the contents in your units and your liability as a host from such incidents.

A normal insurance may not be able to cover certain incidents during a guest stay but there is good news for homeowners in Malaysia. HostProtect, Malaysia’s First Short Stay Protection underwritten by Tune Insurance Malaysia Berhad can help to protect the contents in your units with the All Risk Protection and your liability as a host/your hosts liability to guests staying in your units with the Public Liability Protection. To learn more about HostProtect, click here.


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