Do security cameras have a place in House-sitting?
Alexa, Turn on the Cameras Please.
House-sitting is a great leap of trust for both the owner and the sitter but, it seems for some, there’s little trust.
I understand a homeowner wanting to feel their home and pets are safe and secure, and to me, I believe that’s why they engage a house-sitter.
Does the homeowner have a right, legal or otherwise, to view the house-sitter on camera, or listen to them, without disclosing that it can or will happen?
House-sitters take note, in some countries, recording without sound or disclosure is legal.
The right to privacy is situationally dependent.
That said, in many countries, a hidden camera recording with or without sound, is illegal.
Still, other countries rule that listening to, or recording a conversation you’re not a part of, is illegal.
Regardless, is it acceptable to “look-in or record” your house-sitter without their knowledge? One’s answer likely depends upon one’s moral compass.
What’s Good for the Goose…
I’m certain that homeowners would be horrified to find their hotel, bed and breakfast, or Airbnb manager is watching and/or listening to them without disclosure.
This, I’m certain they’d argue, would constitute an invasion of their privacy, which begs the question, how is doing this to your house-sitter not an invasion of theirs?
House-sitters should have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Sitters have asked homeowners about cameras and been told they don’t exist, only to find them after the sit begins.
Others have been told they exist, but are turned off, only to find them on.
In our discussion, there was no disclosure, just the sitter finding them.
There’re other homeowners who have cameras but give the sitter total control of in-home cameras.
The latter is a solution I can get behind because it demonstrates trust and respect.
How Should a Sitter Handle it?
The owner left without disclosing the cameras. The sitter found them, and when confronting the owner was told they “had to” leave at least one of them on.
Should a homeowner who has not disclosed cameras to the sitter, and who intended to invade the sitter’s privacy, reasonably expect the sitter to leave one on?
Is a sitter, in-light-of these circumstances, obligated to remain for the duration of the sit?
Would you stay or would you go?
What’s a House-sitter to Do?
As technology advances, house-sitters need to ask questions about listening devices and cameras and I suggest you do this in your first interview. Don’t be afraid to ask if cameras exist.
Ask also if they can or will be turned off. Go the extra step and ask for the answer in writing, with a signature.
In the case of Echo, Alexa or other listening devices, request they’re disconnected from the internet and unplugged from a power source.
Thank you to the 99% of homeowners who treat their house-sitters with respect and honesty.
You’re amazing people and without your trust, house-sitting as a lifestyle wouldn’t be available to us wanderers.
To the 1% who feel the need to invade the privacy of your house-sitter, you should look for an alternative service. This exchange is founded on trust which, clearly, you lack.
Personally, I’m going to continue to ask, and trust.
For those truly concerned, I’ve reluctantly sourced products that let you check for undisclosed cameras.
There’re apps for your phone that do the same thing.
Given that a small but growing number of homeowners use cameras, perhaps house-sitters must now be pro-active in protecting their privacy. Trust but verify.
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