Last year, an Indiana couple made the news when they found hidden cameras in the Florida AirBNB they had rented. With this discover, local law enforcement officers came forward claiming that there were likely dozens of renters who stayed in the same location and may have been illegally captured on the video.
While this news was distressing, it isn’t new – by any means. AirBNB faced a lawsuit in 2015 when a German woman discovered that there was a hidden camera, recording her, in the rental she had in California.
While it is clear that the owners of these rentals have violated the criminal statutes and may be able to be held civilly liable for this secret surveillance, what liability (if any) does AirBNB hold? If you are a victim of this type of action, can you sue the company?
Banned Cameras in Your Rental Property
The fact is, Airbnb has established a pretty clear and concise an electronic surveillance policy, which bans any type of undisclosed surveillance devices, as well as the presence of these devices in private locations, such as bathrooms and bedrooms, even if their presence is disclosed.
However, the question that is still there is whether or not the rules that have been established by the company absolve it from any type of legal liability if a host does not abide by them.
Even though the majority of the liability will fall on the hosts – as well as their insurance policies – in situations of injury accidents, it may be different and be considered criminal activity.
Airbnb has also been accused of the “Superhost” badges and by listing green checks by a renter’s names, in addition to the word “Verified” without actually performing a background check on the host or disclosing to the guests that background checks are not done. Also, in a well-known case Marriott hotel was found as liable (and forced to pay approximately $27 million) in the case when Erin Andrews was filmed by another guest through the peephole in her room.
What to Do if You are a Victim of Video Voyeurism?
If you are facing a situation where you are a victim of video voyeurism, then the best thing you can do is contact an attorney. Not only will you be able to hold the person responsible for the recording devices liable, but also the company behind the rental if that is the situation you are in.