Many owners ask us whether they should invest in installing video cameras for surveillance of the common areas of their properties. There are several reasons why we recommend doing so if the owners have the financial means to do so.
First, while we as landlords cannot guarantee our tenants’ safety, it does help when there is an incident of crime happening in your building. With the increase of crime in Los Angeles, having video surveillance can assist local law enforcement in locating a suspect.
Second, it can help in “he said/she said” litigation when sued by a tenant. About two years ago, one of our owners was sued by a tenant for a slip and fall accident. The complaint stated that the tenant fell on a pipe that was sticking out of the ground as a result of some leftover construction at the building. We were able to go back to the video recording to the precise date and time of the alleged event and determine that the tenant/plaintiff NEVER tripped on the pipe, but that he was walking nearby the pipe but actually tripped on his own luggage strap that he was pulling down the walk way wearing flip flop sandals. He never even touched the pipe and the video evidence was clear. Had we not had this video surveillance, this lawsuit could have caused our owner a lot more money in legal fees. Instead we were able to win on a motion and quickly dismiss the case. The cameras proved to be an added level of insurance for the owner in this case.
Third, it can assist in protecting your good tenants and getting out the bad tenants. We manage a large apartment in Koreatown, full of unsavory tenants, who stop at nothing to cause problems at the property. One day, we found camera footage of one of the tenants in this unit entering a vacant unit and stealing the owner’s microwave which he had recently installed for a new tenant. This was slam-dunk evidence of theft. We immediately filed a police report and gave them a 3 Day Notice to Quit (no curing option). They attempted to fight it with the city, but the video evidence supported our case and ultimately, they were forced to vacate and turn over possession of the property. We renovated the unit, put it on the market and leased it out to a lovely family.
These are strong examples of why owners ought to consider installing video cameras on their property, how it can be used to protect owners’ interests in their properties; and most importantly, protect the quiet enjoyment of the good tenants living at the property.
Jared Karpel is with KIG Property Management and can be reached at (888) 270-4452,