Legal Hotline: Do I Have to Disclose a Security System to a Buyer

Q.) My seller has a home security system in the property I have listed. Do I have to disclose this to potential buyers and their agents?

A.) Yes, Massachusetts requires two-party consent for all audio recordings. Recording another individual without their consent may subject you and your seller to criminal and civil penalties. Home monitoring devices such as Google Home, Arlo, Nest, and Ring Doorbell, among others, have all become commonplace. It is extremely important to have a conversation regarding these devices with your sellers prior to listing a property.

If a seller has a recording device on the property and intends to have the device active during showings and open houses, they must disclose this fact to any individual who enters the property and is thus subject to recording.

Consent may be obtained in writing, or through proper notice which allows an individual to decline being recorded before they are subject to recording. Listing agents should place a notice in the MLS indicating that showings and open houses may be recorded.

Additionally, a notice should be placed on the property indicating that there are recording devices.

Unlike an agency disclosure sign at an open house, a placard on the counter top will not suffice as proper notice because the individuals are likely already being recorded.

To assist our members in navigating this issue, MAR has developed a new form, Notice of Recording, that may be included with the MLS listing. We have also updated the listing agreements to include a provision under the “Seller’s Duties and Responsibilities” for the seller to disclose whether they have any recording devices on the property and whether they record visual, audio, or both visual and audio.