This Q&A about whether lot owners are able to access body corporate CCTV footage has been answered by Peter Hunt, Mathews Hunt Legal.
Question: Is the body corporate obliged to allow the lot owner to view CCTV footage and, if yes, should a member of the body corporate committee supervise the viewing?
There was a recent incident in the underground car park of our unit development involving tampering with an owner`s vehicle. There is a CCTV camera which covers the area where the vehicle is parked and the owner has sought permission to view the footage in the time frame when the incident occurred.
Is the body corporate obliged to allow the lot owner to view the relevant CCTV footage and, if yes, should a member of the body corporate committee supervise the viewing?
Answer: An owner can access body corporate CCTV footage within seven days of making a written request and payment of the prescribed fee.
An owner can access body corporate CCTV footage within seven days of making a written request and payment of the prescribed fee. Often the request to see CCTV footage is made following an accident or a confrontation, but no reason needs to be given with the request.
Adjudicators have held that the body corporate’s records include information stored or recorded on a computer such as CCTV footage.
There is no need for a committee member to supervise the viewing. However, the committee should make sure the CCTV footage cannot be deleted by the viewer and should permanently retain a copy of the relevant CCTV footage so that there is no later argument about what was seen.
If there is a genuine concern about the request for the viewing, then legal advice should be sought.
Some bodies corporate are having difficulty accessing the CCTV footage where it is kept in the caretaker’s office. As a result, those bodies corporate are upgrading their CCTV systems so that access is also available at a second location, so as to reduce conflicts with their caretakers and better protect the body corporate’s records.
This post appears in Strata News #274.
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