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.
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.”
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.