I'm a landlord in Louisiana & suspect that my tenants may be letting freon out of the a/c compressor. Can I video the area without their consent?The a/c system is old and causes the electric...

I'm a landlord in Louisiana & suspect that my tenants may be letting freon out of the a/c compressor. Can I video the area without their consent?

The a/c system is old and causes the electric bill to be a little higher than normal.  The tenants have expressed that they want a new unit installed but the old one is cooling just fine.  I told them that I would not be replacing it until next year, and suddenly I have to call out a repair man twice in the last 6 weeks because it is low on freon -the last time it needed 6 pounds.  I've been informed that there is slow leaking, but not so much that it should be leaking this much freon in such a short period of time.  I asked the repair man to check for obvious signs of tampering... there were none but he did offer the possibility that the freon is being manually depleated.  I would like to set up video surveillance (only on the one area on the outside of the house) without their knowledge so that if they are doing it, I can catch them in the act... or catch whoever may be tampering with the unit.

Expert Answers
dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In your situation the video camera/surveillance would be placed in a public area on the side of the building, yes, you can do this without any express consent given.

Privacy matters boil down to two areas, public or private locations and the expectation of privacy. When anyone is in a public area (where the a/c unit is located) one has/retains absolutely no expectation of privacy and therefore express consent need not be obtained. Believe it or not, by virtue of us living and doing business in public locations, we all give our implied consent to be videotaped or audio taped, for that matter.

A good example of this is the following. Say for example that you owned a gym where people came to exercise. You could set up surveillance in the lobby and corridors of the building, but could not set it up, in say the dressing area. The difference is in the expectation of privacy that visitors to the establishment hold. In the lobby or corridors, there is no expectation of privacy, but in the dressing room, everyone enjoys and has a very real expectation of privacy. And in this example, the lobby is considered a public versus private area.

lcsoman0117 | Student

It's your property, and your renting it out to them correct?

 

By those standards, you may post camera's, considering it is technically your property. Hoiwever, as the previous answer stated, they must be in public areas. Which in your case, monitoring, the A/C unit, you could.