Selling a home means allowing buyers in your home to view the property. In recent years, there was a strong increase in the use of cameras and listening devices in private homes. As a seller, it is important to know if cameras and listening devices are allowed to spy on and listen to potential buyers as they view the home.
What are the rules regarding cameras when listing your home?
REIX, the Real Estate Insurance Exchange, provides realtors in Alberta and Saskatchewan with mandatory liability insurance. The REIX states:
“Simply put, sellers need to be advised that making and using recordings obtained without consent is illegal and could constitute criminal conduct with significant penalties or the sellers could be subject to a civil action brought by a buyer who did not know or consent to the recording.
But it is the seller’s home, don’t they have the right to record the goings-on during a showing for safety reasons? Legally, they don’t unless consent from the parties has been obtained.”
Buyers want to discuss the home freely without being spied on
During a viewing, buyers and their realtor want to discuss all the negatives and positives about a home. They want to get each other’s opinions, each other’s feedback, discuss pricing, and so forth. Buyers between themselves want to bounce off their feelings, ideas and thoughts about the home because, ultimately, those buyers have to live there, and those buyers are looking for their future ‘nest’.
A buyer should always be aware that they may be heard or watched
Being spied on does affect the showing
Nobody likes to be spied on. And, from our experience, we can truly say that it does affect the experience of the showing. It is very disturbing for buyers during the showing if they cannot freely express their love or dislike of the home. It is even more disturbing if buyers love a home and find out afterwards they were seen and heard, and that their motivation was exposed.
Disclosing use of cameras
From our experience, we can truly say cameras do affect the experience of the showing negatively
Legally speaking, a seller should also get written consent from the buyers to make sure they know they are being seen and heard during their showing.
Ultimately, it is the realtor’s responsibility to know if any devices are in the home. A listing realtor must discuss this upon listing the property. However, the buying realtor should ask about it before showing the property to any prospective buyer.
Source: REIX stands for The Real Estate Insurance Exchange. The REIX provides mandatory liability insurance coverage to all real estate industry professionals trading in real estate in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Read the full article about cameras and listening devices during viewings here.