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I'm currently staying in a property in Portugal (Almancil) that has several Verisure cameras inside and outside of the house. I have seen the panel light up red on a few random occasions which led to me researching what this security system is. Apparently, the owner can watch us at anytime at his convenience on a mobile device/app. The cameras are in the main living area/room, a stairwell and the basement (cinema room). Both the owner and I are from the UK and I know this is illegal in the UK in private rentals.

Does anyone know the legality of this situation in Portugal? Is this allowed by the owner?

EDIT: Here is the link https://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/almancil/209560

  • 6
    Don't know about legality, but duct tape does wonders in situations like this! – Peter M Aug 30 '16 at 16:52
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    Already on it, but I've been careful so that I cannot be accused of destruction of property – Matt J Aug 30 '16 at 17:07
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    I intend to let him know and perhaps seek a legal route since my wife is concerned about images of our son and it's sort of put a (small) cloud over our trip. Apparently those devices can still hear audio. – Matt J Aug 30 '16 at 17:41
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    Leave Rick Astley playing on a loop whenever you are out. – DJClayworth Aug 30 '16 at 19:39
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    If you haven't already paid or paid through a payment method where chargeback is possible, then aside from all the other issues, I think you should withhold/reverse payment. This behavior is way out of line and is not what you signed up for. For the legal question law.SE might be appropriate if they do international. – R.. Aug 30 '16 at 21:27
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I could find a report on Portuguese tenancy law by Bremen University. While legal aspects regarding private rental may be quite different from tenancy laws, I assume it still serves as an indication here. Citing (p. 138 f., footnotes removed):

Is the surveillance of certain parts (e.g. corridors) of the building lawful and usual?
The legislation regarding video surveillance for housing can be found in article 4, no. 4 of Law no. 67/98, 26th October, regarding the protection of personal data and, more specifically, in Law no. 34/2013, of 16th May, which regulates the use of systems of video surveillance by private security enterprises. For the owner of a single unit house (i.e., not a block of apartments), the installation of video surveillance equipment is subject to prior authorisation from the National Data Protection Commission (CNPD). The owner must fill out an application form and attach a layout with the positioning of the cameras and the locations covered by the angle of the capture of the images. Also, if there are cameras outside the house (for example, at the gates) there must be a warning or a sign to inform passers-by of data recording.
For a building or a condominium the applicant must also have the written consent of all joint-owners or tenants (art. 6 Law 67/98) in order to protect the privacy of their personal and family life (articles 26 and 35 of the Constitution). The building must have a warning informing people that it is subject to video surveillance. The landlord must inform the new tenants that the building is subject to video surveillance and obtain their consent trough a clause in the tenancy agreement.
Such practice is not very usual. The reasons may be related to the high costs of the equipment, the maintenance and the relative security and low criminality that the country enjoys. However, in more recent years we are witnessing a significant growth in the demand for these services.

Given that, the references to the constitution and protection of privacy and need for proper signage and consent, and reading between the lines of your question that you have not been informed about these cameras, my guess is that they are illegal the way they are currently used.

In your case I would consider the following steps:

  • checking your rental agreement for hidden clauses agreeing to such practices
  • covering the cameras by taping paper in their vision field (not damaging them)
  • contacting the owner and
    • asking about those cameras
    • demanding them to be turned off
    • asking whether video or audio has been recorded and demanding any such material to be deleted
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    Thanks man, when reviewing my rental agreement there's no mention of surveillance/security equipment. And I've taped up the internal cameras, I've left the external cameras since I think they're valid to have. – Matt J Aug 30 '16 at 17:09
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    I'd look long and hard for a hidden camera (fake clock, smoke detector, etc.) in the bathroom and bedroom. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 30 '16 at 19:22
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    @AndrewLazarus there's probably no harm in engaging your paranoia; but the sort of creeper who installs that sort of camera is unlikely to install anything openly to alarm residents. – Dan Neely Aug 30 '16 at 21:34
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    @AndrewLazarus Might there not also be legal issues with using a fake smoke detector? – JAB Aug 30 '16 at 22:01

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