“Here, it must first be determined whether or not the neighbor obtained permission to install the camera from the association’s board of trustees. If no permission was granted, the remedy is relatively simple. Notification to the board will typically resolve the problem in that the board will likely require that the neighbor remove the camera and/or impose fines for infringing on common areas without permission. Common areas are for the general use of each of the association’s members and their guests. With few exceptions, no member has a greater or lesser right to the use of common areas. Therefore, the neighbor’s installation of the camera could constitute a violation of the association’s bylaws, rules or regulations, subjecting him/her to penalties and fines. Most associations’ bylaws prohibit the exclusive use of common areas by one association member over other members. In such a case where no permission was granted, the board should take immediate action to enforce the bylaws, rules and/or regulations.
“The second issue posed is what to do if the board granted the neighbor permission to install the camera. This may pose a greater problem than a neighbor simply disobeying the association’s bylaws, rules or regulations. If the board granted such permission, the members may require the board to answer for its decision as it has, arguably, encumbered their collective property (i.e. the common areas are owned collectively by association members). If no reasonable explanation can be provided, the membership may be entitled to take action against the board and the neighbor to compel compliance with the bylaws, rules and/or regulations.
“In any of the above circumstances it is recommended that you consult with an attorney or firm, such as ours, who specializes in community association law in order to give a more detailed analysis based upon the specifics of your case.”