(Aug. 30, 2019) Buyers actively looking for a home in today’s market are likely to get a response if they say “Hey Alexa.”
That’s because many sellers have smart-home technology in place when their home is actively listed for sale, but sellers should be aware of our state’s laws when it comes to recording devices.
Under Maryland’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, it is unlawful to tape record any private conversation without the permission of all the parties.
Even the state of Maryland Exclusive Right to Sell Residential Brokerage Agreement references or discloses to sellers now that if they have any home security systems that record audio, that the seller should be advised that Maryland law prohibits audio recording of private conversations without the consent of all parties.
Delaware is also one of the 11 states in the country that require consent from all parties to be able to record a private conversation.
In addition to smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomePod and Google’s Home, the trend to have WiFi enabled cameras has really grown due to their affordability and ease to install.
The Maryland Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act does not regulate or prohibit video recordings without sound.
However, according to a summary of state laws compiled by the National Association of Realtors, video monitoring is generally prohibited in places where someone has “a reasonable expectation of privacy.” And, it is a good practice to disclose if you are a seller of a home that has video recording devices on the premises.
A Demand Institute survey showed that homeowners with high incomes and home values—as well as those under the age of 45—were found to be the most likely to place an importance on having smart-home features.
— Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.