Home security cameras: what are the rules in France?

Rules differ dependent upon the scope of any video camera

There are strict rules relating to the installation of security cameras
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Reader question: I live in a flat with communal areas. Can video cameras be put in place to film these areas in case of crime or vandalism?

Home security cameras can be useful deterrents against burglars and footage captured from them can be used as evidence in court or for insurance claims.

However, France has strict laws regarding filming via these cameras.

It is illegal to film the ‘public highway’, meaning any area that is not part of your own, immediate property.

That means that home security cameras filming outside of your private property are illegal, whether filming public roads or a neighbour’s house.

However, video cameras that only film your private property are legal, including video doorbells for example - as long as they are correctly positioned.

There are also laws to adhere to in terms of respecting people’s privacy.

For example, if someone outside of your private circle (not a friend or family member) enters your home, you are supposed to warn them that there are security cameras recording and explain why you have these cameras.

If you have an employee who works in your home, the cameras must not “permanently” film these employees while they are working.

Communal areas

The rules are similarly clear on non-public but shared or communal areas such as a private car park.

Firstly, the cameras must not infringe on anyone’s right to privacy.

This means that the other people with access to the communal areas must agree to a security camera being put in place.

Read more: How communities in rural France are using CCTV to tackle rising crime

In large apartment blocks, it is up to the residents to vote on whether a camera should be installed or not.

Secondly, the camera must not film any person’s private property, such as doors or windows.

It must be made clear that there is a video camera set up to film the communal areas. The footage can only be kept for a month and should only be watched in case of an incident, such as vandalism or harassment.


Airbnb has recently banned all indoor security cameras worldwide, regardless of prior warning in the advert, how clearly shown they are within the property and even if they are turned off.

Read more: Holidaymakers in France discover hidden camera in Airbnb bathroom

The ban will take effect on April 30, 2024.

Before, such cameras were allowed in communal areas such as halls or living rooms but are now only permitted outside of the property (as long as they still only film private property).

Read more

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