Installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras outside your home can help to monitor your premises and deter crimes such as theft and harassment. Surveillance footage is also handy as video proof in case of neighbour disputes or as evidence to help the police solve crimes.
It’s also common to see CCTV cameras installed within homes, especially for residents who want to keep an eye on the safety of their pets, children and/or elderly parents.
But whilst it’s common to see CCTV cameras installed both within and outside of homes, is it actually legal in Singapore?
You Need Permission to Install a CCTV Camera
According to the Community Disputes Resolution Act 2015, “an individual who resides in a place of residence must not cause unreasonable interference with their neighbour’s enjoyment or use of their place of residence, which includes surveillance of the neighbours or their place of residence.”
The Act also states that your neighbours can bring civil proceedings in a court against you for violating the rules.
Depending on your type of residence, and the direction of the camera(s), you may need approval from the authorities to install video surveillance devices, whether within or outside of your home.
Installing a CCTV Camera Inside Your Home
You can install CCTV camera(s) in your home without requiring approval from the authorities. However, if the cameras are facing the common areas or intrude on the privacy of your neighbours (e.g. recording their movements), then the authorities may ask you to remove the camera(s).
Installing a CCTV Camera Outside Your Home
For HDB Properties
If you live in an HDB property and want to install CCTV cameras outside your home, you must get special approval from your town council or HDB.
That’s because the town council by-laws regulate the common areas of HDB flats, meaning you have to get your town council’s permission if you want to install or fix something in the common area and corridors, which includes CCTV cameras. If you don’t have the authorisation to do so, you may face a penalty of $5,000.
However, your town council will only give their approval if your request is supported by a police report. Furthermore, the CCTV camera must not face the door or window of your neighbour, and the installation is only allowed for six months. Once the period expires, you have to resubmit your request or the CCTV camera has to be removed.
For Private Condominium and Strata Properties
The installation of CCTV cameras may have to comply with your Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) rules and the by-laws of your estate.
For Landed Properties
If you live in a landed property, you essentially own the land and can install CCTV cameras without any approval from the authorities (however, you must not violate their privacy and record their actions).
What You Should Know Before Installing CCTV Cameras
Remember that CCTV camera installations are illegal if they’re not authorised by the authorities.
If you live in an HDB flat, you first need to make a police report concerning the crime of your neighbour, before you can get approval from your town council. The CCTV camera must also not intrude on the privacy of your neighbour.
For strata homes, you may need to get authorisation from your MCST or the by-laws of your estate.
Also, you should consider your neighbour’s privacy and comfort when installing CCTV cameras; if your neighbour feels like you’re intruding into his/her privacy, then they can lodge a complaint under the Community Disputes Resolution Act (CDRA), invite you for mediation or even file a complaint to your town council. If found guilty, you may need to take down/change the position of the camera, or compensate your neighbour up to $20,000.
Also, remember that once you’ve gotten approval from your town council to install a CCTV camera, you can only install it for up to six months and have to be taken down after that (unless you apply for another approval). Failure to comply will result in a fine of $5,000.
For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.
Looking for a new home? Head to PropertyGuru to browse the top properties for sale in Singapore.
Need help financing your latest property purchase? Let the mortgage experts at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals.
This article was written by Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru. When he’s not busy churning out engaging property content or newsletter copies, he’s busy being a lover of all geeky things. Say hi at: email@example.com