Skip to content

B.C. landlord told to disable video cameras, stop recording tenant

Complainant says building manager threatened to evict, empty her apartment while she was gone
33008261_web1_230613-BPD-Privacy-commission-landlord-camera_1
A Vancouver-based landlord has been told to disable its video cameras and delete videos of a tenant after she says the surveillance was used to falsely claim she was subletting her apartment. (Pixabay)

A Vancouver-based landlord has been told to disable its video cameras and delete videos of a tenant after she says the surveillance was used to falsely claim she was subletting her apartment.

In a May 25 decision released June 1 by the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for B.C., adjudicator Celia Francis noted that there was “no deemed consent” for FHBW Investments Company Ltd. to collect the tenant’s personal information through video surveillance under Canada’s Personal Information Protection Act.

Four video images showed the tenant and her partner coming in from shopping, the partner bringing in a shelf and her leaving with a friend to go to the airport for her flight.

The order comes after the tenant, who had lived in her rental unit since 2004, had filed a complaint that the building owner was improperly handling video images.

She had sent email complaints to FHBW, with one noting the landlord had “improperly collected, used, viewed and disclosed her video images without her consent.” It added that she asked for FHBW’s privacy policy and to “destroy” the surveillance images.

When she didn’t receive a response, the tenant then filed a complaint with B.C.’s privacy commissioner.

She added the building manager had also: harrassed her for having a house sitter when she left the country; threatened to evict and empty her apartment while she was gone; and admitted she – the building manager – “frequently watched video recordings from the building’s video surveillance system, not to investigate a significant security or safety incident or criminal activity, but to monitor and report on the complainant’s comings and goings, and to catch other tenants flouting her rules.”

After receiving an eviction notice in November 2020 when she left Canada for an overseas trip, the tenant successfully filed to have it cancelled through B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch. She later received a copy of FHBW’s privacy policy, as well as the four surveillance images.

The company said it installed the cameras to deter thefts, but in her decision Francis noted FHBW didn’t provide any details about the number or nature of thefts or unauthorized entry that would justify the video surveillance.

Francis said it “would not, in my view, be obvious” that the cameras were to deter theft. She added that based on the location of the camera, the tenants have “no choice but to be monitored.”

FHBW has until July 7 to comply with the orders.

READ MORE: Landlord denies tenant security camera use, B.C. law vague on subject


@laurenpcollins1
lauren.collins@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.



Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
Read more