Private video surveillance inside homes has become cheap and easily accessible and therefore more common.  When you list your home for sale, what does the law say about what your responsibilities are if you are recording those buyers who are viewing your home?

Video Surveillance In Michigan

The main thing to understand in MCL 750.539d is that the code is for “private residences.”  The pertinent part of the code is in section #2:

“This section does not prohibit security monitoring in a residence if conducted by or at the direction of the owner or principal occupant of that residence unless conducted for a lewd or lascivious purpose.”

So it would appear that there is a legal basis for recording potential buyers when they are touring your home as long as it is not for a lewd activity.

There is a second test to recording though, because its not just video we have to be concerned with but also audio recording.

Audio Surveillance In Michigan

MCL 750.539c of the Michigan Penal Code states the following:

Any person who is present or who is not present during a private conversation and who willfully uses any device to eavesdrop upon the conversation without the consent of all parties thereto, or who knowingly aids, employs or procures another person to do the same in violation of this section, is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for not more than 2 years or by a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.”

This particular issue as it relates to the viewing of a private residence is still being hashed out in the courts but in general we should assume it is illegal to record someone viewing a home without their consent.

What Can I do If I have Video/Audio Surveillance In My Home?

At the very least the presence of audio and video surveillance should be disclosed to potential buyers by the seller and listing agent.  Buyer’s agent’s should discuss the fact that their may be surveillance with their buyers prior to showing the homes.  If you have audio you should not record the conversations of buyers.  If you do want to record conversations then its best to get the consent of those viewing the home. 

This issue is a relatively new issue as it relates to the intersection of surveillance and real estate.  Buyers and Sellers need to be aware of the potential issues associated with surveillance in a private home.  While the law seems reasonably clear on this subject litigation will most certainly make its way through Michigan courts and provide further clarity in the future.

This is not a legal opinion and should not be construed as one.  If you have specific questions about the legalities of video surveillance in your home you should contact an attorney.


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.