Can a body corporate install cameras on the common property and who has a right to that footage?
Can the body corporate be compelled to hand over that footage?
Is the footage “private”?
Recent decision Royal Pines Principal Body Corporate affirmed the current common law position that CCTV footage of the common property is a “body corporate record” and therefore capable of being viewed and copied regardless of the “Footage Policy” which a committee might adopt to avoid disclosing the information.
Interestingly Referee M A Schmidt, noting the Information Privacy Act 2009 was beyond the scope of his jurisdiction, found that there was no apparent limit on the disclosure of “personal information” when specifically authorised by law and did not appear to have any application to a body corporate.
As body corporate managers we need to point out a disconnect between the above decision and the reality and practicality of a management firm receiving and storing video footage records in a readily digestible format as it can be disappointing to owners to discover that we do not hold video footage records which they might want to review if their vehicle is stolen or damaged for example.
Therefore, any scheme with a CCTV system needs to firstly understand that any footage captured is a body corporate record, there compelling a committee or caretaker to provide access to any footage collected and retained.
Secondly, a scheme with a CCTV system needs to have an appropriate means of providing access to those records in an appropriate format.
A further consideration, in our view while the records are accessible as a record, a Committee member, caretaker or body corporate manager is not obligated to trawl through potentially hours of footage retained as a record on behalf of a lot owner or other interested party (as defined by the Act).
To read that case for yourself – click here: http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/qld/QBCCMCmr/2023/138.html