A Private Matter Communities Must Balance Privacy and Security

The issue of intellectual property and an individual’s right to privacy has become a greater concern since more and more people conduct their lives online—whether for banking, social media or dating. While the aforementioned generally have security features encrypted in programming platforms, there remain justifiable concerns as to what is actually protected. This heightened sense of scrutiny results in ancillary privacy concerns, especially for those living in community associations.

Whether it is the installation of security cameras, insider criminal activity or environmental health concerns, both boards and residents have to be aware of state laws and governing documents. Cases of privacy intrusion happen from coast to coast. Last year, for example, a Florida family living in a penthouse suite sued its condominium association for cell phone towers that were installed on their roof without permission causing loud noises and health risks. In Hawaii, a security guard was arrested for copying residents’ keys and stealing credit card and banking information.

In Illinois, privacy is a right under the law. “Section 6 of the Illinois Constitution guarantees that 'the people shall have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and other possessions against unreasonable searches, seizures, invasions of privacy or interceptions of communications by eavesdropping devices of other means',” explains attorney Barry Kreisler of Chicago-based Kreisler Law, P.C.

Privacy in condominiums and HOAs take on many forms and boards, management and residents should be aware of what they have a right to know versus what should and can be kept confidential.

Understanding Privacy

One of the perks of living in a condominium or townhome community is that it offers residents the ability to build credit and have control of their home without the headaches of funding and maintaining a single-family home. But shared community living does possess certain restrictions and questions regarding privacy are always at the top of the list.


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  • I would like to know if it is legal for board members to share personal and financial information regarding our home in the community with other residents (who don't even serve on the board and some who don't even own property here but live here as renters. We feel that what goes on in executive sessions should "remain" in those sessions and not shared as a topic of casual conversation, gossip or threatening with other members of our community. Is this a true and correct belief?