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Is It Legal To Install CCTV Along The Corridor Of My Home?

Installation of Closed Circuit Television Cameras or CCTV as they are commonly known is common in most parts of the world, Singapore included. Residents install these cameras for a variety of reasons including, to deter theft and other criminal activities in their premises and to ward off unwanted loan shark runners. Unlike in most parts of the world, it is not entirely legal to install CCTV cameras in the corridors of one’s home. This is particularly the case in apartments managed by the Home Development Board or HDB.

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· Many foreigners have found themselves in trouble for installing CCTV cameras on the corridors of their homes.

Before installing these cameras, there are a number of requirements that a homeowner need to fulfill. For instance it is not permitted to install CCTV cameras facing a common corridor. Many homeowners have complained of this to their town councils and to the HDB. There are two authorities to approach when it comes to acquiring a permit for the installation of CCTV cameras in Singapore, a local town council and the HDB. Any complaints relating to the installation of these cameras are also relied to these authorities.

· For years now CCTV cameras in Singapore were seen as an invasion of privacy and a nuisance.

This changed with increase in vandalism and theft in apartment blocks and residential areas. This acts of criminality prompted many homeowners to purchase either fake or authentic CCTV cameras. The HDB, which manages a number of flats in Singapore decided to soften its stand on the installation of the cameras in apartment buildings. However, the authority has put in place a number of rules and regulations governing the installation and use of these cameras.

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· Generally the installation of CCTV cameras in public corridors and other public areas is not allowed.

Thus CCTV cameras are only permissible if they do not interfere with the privacy of other residents within an apartment block. In addition, the installation of this camera is restricted to only one by law. Hence a homeowner cannot install more than one camera on the corridor of their home. A permit for the installation of cameras is temporary and will expire upon the lapse of the permitted time period. Where there is a dispute between two neighbors, the permit may be given until the end of the dispute.

· A permit can only be valid for a period not exceeding six months.

Moreover, the only permissible cameras are those that have been approved by the Housing Development Board. To find such cameras, one can search around in some of the prominent camera retail stores and makers. In Singapore these makers and retail stores can be found mostly in Marina Square and Clarke Quay. For easier access and search the internet offers a database of Singapore based makers and retail stores that sell HDB approved cameras. The rules relating to CCTV installation are usually unclear and it is important to consult the authority for clarifications.

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· The police can also not install CCTV cameras in apartment block corridors without the prior approval of their respective town councils.

The process of acquiring a permit for the installation of the cameras is pretty straightforward. A homeowner seeking to install a CCTV camera has to first write a letter to either the HDB or their respective town council. The letter should outline the purpose for which the cameras are to be installed and for what period. The period specified cannot exceed 6 months as already mentioned above. The town council or HDB have the right to reject or approve any request for permission from any person in Singapore.

· The two authorities may reject the request if they feel that the camera to be installed will infringe on other people’s privacy.
Apartment buildings have several shared amenities including corridors, and one of the rules pertaining to public corridors is that there should be no distractions. If either the town council of HDB feels that the installation of the camera is a violation of this rule the request may be rejected. The alternative is approaching the police who will take up the matter with either the HDB or the town council. Therefore, to be the right side of the law, follow the right procedure.

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