Does Your State Allow Clients to Be Recorded?

September 16, 2014

If there's a hidden camera in a home that's watching you during a showing, do clients need to know about it?

Last month, the attorney for the Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline posted a video about sellers using secret cameras to record buyers and real estate agents as they view homes. You might be surprised to learn that it's legal to use "nanny cams" in all 50 states — but each state has a different definition of where people may have reasonable expectations of privacy. For example, many states prohibit the use of hidden cameras in bathrooms. But whether or not audio can be recorded is another matter altogether.

Some commenters on a recent nanny-cam story wondered what the specific audio-recording rules were in their states, so we decided to take a closer look.

Most states require at least one party being recorded to give consent to the recording by a third party, while other states require that all parties involved give consent. So if you're a listing agent working with a seller, be sure to caution your clients about the audio-recording laws in your state. And if you're going through a house with a client, be mindful that there could be a camera recording your movements and facial expressions, even if there's no audio being recorded.

Look at the list below to see whether your state requires one or all parties to be aware of the use of an audio-recording device. This list is current as of August 2012, so make sure your state hasn't made any amendments to its audio recording laws in the past two years.

Alabama X  
Alaska X  
Arizona X  
Arkansas X  
California   X
Colorado X  
Connecticut   X
Delaware X  
District of Columbia X  
Florida   X
Georgia X  
Hawaii X  
Idaho X  
Illinois   X
Indiana X  
Iowa X  
Kansas X  
Kentucky X  
Louisiana X  
Maine X  
Maryland   X
Massachusetts   X
Michigan   X
Minnesota X  
Mississippi X  
Missouri X  
Montana   X
Nebraska X  
Nevada   X
New Hampshire   X
New Jersey X  
New Mexico X  
New York X  
North Carolina X  
North Dakota X  
Ohio X  
Oklahoma X  
Oregon X  
Pennsylvania   X
Rhode Island X  
South Carolina X  
South Dakota X  
Tennessee X  
Texas X  
Utah X  
Vermont X  
Virginia X  
Washington   X
West Virginia X  
Wisconsin X  
Wyoming X  


Source: Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press