It’s a pretty good bet, these days, that you have been video recorded for some length of time every time you leave the house. Between store surveillance, police dash cams recording license plates and body cameras, and security cameras of all stripes, someone has been watching just about “every move you make.” And in Maryland, that’s pretty much legal.
According to the lawyers at Avvo.com, audio recording is a little more questionable and dangerous. Maryland is a “two-party consent” state. For audio recording to be legal requires the consent of both parties in the conversation, particularly if the conversation takes place in a venue where there is a reasonable expectation that the conversation is private. Just posting a notice may not eliminate the problem.
Now, why is this a real estate issue? The smart house technology that is especially popular right now is a privacy nightmare. Baby cams, personal digital assistants (like Alexa), video doorbells (like Ring), video security systems, and a host of other devices listen and record audio constantly and allow eavesdropping at the touch of a button.
If you’re a seller and you’re enamored of the idea of knowing exactly what’s going on after you leave your house for a showing, you should be aware that recording audio of people’s visits could place you in a difficult legal position. You might want to talk with a lawyer about the best way to utilize your security systems while also insulating yourself from litigation.
If you’re a buyer, you would probably do well to assume that from the moment you leave your car, the seller could be watching and listening to everything sound you and your agent utter. Don’t say anything you don’t want them to hear.
Adam Romanik is the owner of Computer Solutions for Less, an IT consulting business. Adam has over 15 years experience working in the both the IT industry and libraries and has worked as an adjunct instructor at several educational institutions. Adam earned both a Bachelors & Masters degree in Library Science from Clarion University, has earned 24 graduate credits towards a second masters degree in Information Systems and is an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer).
Adam Romanik is also the president and founder of the Keystone State Gay Rodeo Association. He actively competes both on the International Gay Rodeo Association Circuit as well as locally in the mid-atlantic region.