Somebody’s Watching Me!

Does this song sound familiar?!

I always feel like somebody's watchin' me
And I have no privacy
I always feel like somebody's watchin' me
Who's playing tricks on me?

I don't know anymore!
Are the neighbours watching me?
Who's watching
Well is the mailman watching me?
Tell me who's watching
And I don't feel safe anymore, oh what a mess
I wonder who's watching me now

Well, it could be the sellers of the home you are viewing watching you! More and more, we are seeing cameras in doorbells, on garage doors, on top of kitchen cabinets, and don’t get me started on the teddy bear cams! Songwriter Rockwell got it right: these days we aren’t always sure who is watching us, even as we tour a home.

And now we have to worry about being recorded as well! Some sellers are opting to let their home security devices remain “on”, and some of those devices have the ability to record (audio and/or video). Some sellers are not happy with the comments made by the buyers, or their agents, and they are complaining! However, if they are recording the conversation, it is the seller themselves who would end up in hot water.

Individual privacy rights
The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) is the law that governs and sets parameters around the collection of personal information in Alberta. Personal information for the purposes of the act includes a wide range of information about an identifiable person such as their name (legal or nickname), opinions, physical description, gender, or visual images like photographs and recordings where individuals may be identified.

A video/audio recording captures a plethora of personal information and brings the seller under the purview of PIPA, which stipulates that collecting this sort of information without informed consent is illegal. The seller could also be liable under Section 184 of the Criminal Code if they “knowingly intercept private communication” during such a video recording.

But, you might ask, it is the seller’s home, don’t they have the right to record the goings-on during a showing for safety or security reasons? Legally, they don’t unless consent from the parties has been obtained.

What should Sellers do?
Sellers should either deactivate any recording devices or seek the informed consent of any individuals that will be recorded. Consent should be obtained before any of these individuals enter the property, either by clearly posting a notice on the exterior of the property (on the front door is best) or by obtaining consent during the process of booking showings.

What should Buyers do?
When entering a property, keep an eye out for a disclosure document posted by the seller informing of conversations being recorded. If a buyer is uncomfortable with this, they should either refrain from entering the property, or be sure not to say anything until outside the property, and well away from any potential devices outside the house.

I always feel like somebody's watchin' me
Tell me is it just a dream

Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell
Recording Conversations By CREB® Apr 12, 2022

Post a Comment