CCTV, Security Alarms and Lighting
It is a requirement of your tenancy agreement that you must contact us for written permission prior to carrying out any additions, alterations or improvements to your home.
We will not refuse permission without a good reason but we may grant permission with special conditions attached regarding the standard of the work.
Using CCTV at your home.
There are many domestic CCTV systems on the market to help you protect your home. If you’re thinking of using one, you need to make sure you do so in a way that respects other people’s privacy.
You must set up your system so it captures only images within the boundary of your private domestic property (including your garden).
Your system must not capture images of people outside the boundary of your private domestic property – for example, in neighbours’ homes or gardens, shared spaces, or on a public footpath or a street?
You will need to ensure your use of CCTV complies with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18).
Regardless of whether or not your use of CCTV falls within the data protection laws, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recommends you use it responsibly to protect the privacy of others.
What does ‘private domestic property’ mean?
It means the boundary of the property (including the garden) where you live. This can include rented property, or a private space in a communal residential dwelling – such as a flat, or a private room in a residential care home.
How can I use CCTV responsibly at my property?
You should ask yourself whether CCTV is actually the best way to improve your home security.
Think about the following questions:
- Do I really need CCTV?
- Are there other things I could use to protect my home, such as better lighting?
- What is the most privacy-friendly way to set up the system?
- What areas do I want the cameras to capture?
- Do I need to record the images, or is a live feed enough?
- Can I position the cameras to avoid intruding on my neighbours’ property or any shared or public spaces.
- Has my CCTV system got an audio-recording facility? Audio recording is very privacy-intrusive so in most cases where householders use CCTV, they should disable audio recording.
Think about the problem you are trying to tackle. It will usually be to safeguard you and your property against crime. Check your local police advice about crime prevention. Better locks, security lighting or an alarm system may be more effective and less expensive ways of securing your property. If you decide to use CCTV, think about what areas need to be covered.
What happens if I break the law?
- If you fail to comply with your obligations under the data protection laws, you may be subject to enforcement action by the ICO, this could include a fine. You may also be subject to legal action by affected individuals, who could pursue court claims for compensation.
- If you follow the guidance and take all reasonable steps to comply with your data protection obligations, the ICO is unlikely to regard you as a regulatory risk. So the ICO would be unlikely to think that taking enforcement action against you was a proportionate use of its resources.
What else should I think about?
- Before you install the system, consider speaking to your neighbours and explaining what you are doing. Listen to any objections or concerns they may have. It may also be useful to invite your neighbours to view the footage you capture. This may relieve any concerns they have about your use of CCTV. It may also avoid disputes escalating or complaints being made about your recording.
- The phrase ‘domestic CCTV system’ refers to the use of any video surveillance equipment mounted or fixed on your home. It can include cameras fitted to doorbells.
- You should remember that your use of a domestic CCTV system may be appropriate, but publicly uploading or streaming footage of identifiable people would need more justification. In most cases it would not be justifiable.
- You don’t need to register with the ICO or pay a fee. However, you must maintain records of how and why you are capturing these images, and for how long you are keeping them. You may need to make these records available to the ICO on request.
- The sight of an alarm casing on a property is often enough to deter an intruder and many properties have alarms, lights, sensors or CCTV of some sort these days.
- All alarm systems installed in the EU must meet certain basic standards in order to be accepted by insurance companies and qualify for a police response. These standards are covered in the EN50131 series and are published in the UK as BS EN50131.
- Planning permission is not normally required for installing a security alarm, although if you live in a listed building or conservation area you should check with City of Wolverhampton Council Planning Division.
- Installing a security alarm system that involves electrical work will need to comply with the relevant standards as set out in the Building Regulations approved documents.
- Much security lighting is installed without due consideration of its suitability for the task and its effect on neighbours and the environment. Domestic security lights should provide the minimum level of illumination necessary to light a property. For most outdoor motion lights, the optimum height for installation is between 6 and 10 feet off the ground.
- Whilst you may be happy with the light that illuminates half the street, your neighbours may not be. Floodlights and detectors should be aimed to only detect and light people on your property. They should not detect a person or animals walking down the street. If the floodlight is fitted with a timer, this should be adjusted to the minimum to reduce the operation of the light.
- Light itself, and minor domestic light fittings are not subject to planning controls. Nevertheless, if you are planning to install external lighting for security or other purposes, you should ensure that the intensity and direction of light does not disturb others, it can in some circumstances be classed as a ‘statutory nuisance’ covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
- There are no set levels for light to be considered a statutory nuisance. For the artificial light to count as a statutory nuisance it must do one of the following:
- Unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises
- Injure health or be likely to injure health
And it would be assessed against:
- Whether it interferes with the use of a property
- Whether it may affect health
- How it’s likely to affect the average person (unusual sensitivities aren’t included)
- How often it happens
- How long it lasts
- When it happens
- Whether it’s in the town or country
- Many home security lights are tungsten halogen floodlights. These units can provide satisfactory security lighting if correctly installed and aimed, however, it is rarely necessary to use a lamp of greater than 2000 lumens (150W) in such fittings. The use of a higher power bulb only causes more glare, and darker shadows offer a convenient hiding place for criminals. Many of these floodlights are fitted with detectors to sense the movement of intruders. Unfortunately, if badly installed and aimed they also detect small animals roaming around the garden causing the light to switch on and off throughout the night. This can be a nuisance to neighbours.
- For many properties, a better solution for security lighting is to use a bulkhead or porch lights fitted with a low power 600-900 lumens (9/11w) compact fluorescent lamp. These units can be left lit all night, providing all night security, for only a few pounds of electricity per year. Besides being cheap to run, this type of light is kinder to the environment providing a gentle wash of light with reduced glare. Bulkhead and porch lights cast fewer shadows reducing the hiding places for criminals. These units can be fitted with a movement detector if required. These units are generally mounted lower and are therefore less susceptible to nuisance switching and complaints from neighbours.
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 January 2020 15:20