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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116753
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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MShore, I just finished a stay at a Airbnb on the Big Island

Customer Question

Hey MShore,
I just finished a stay at a Airbnb on the Big Island of Hawaii. There was a camera in both bedrooms and living room. The listing said nothing about a camera being in the bedrooms. The only notification was a sign at the entrance of the property saying "24 hour surveillance." Airbnb policy is that if the listing has a camera it must be disclosed prior to booking. I read online there are several other lawsuits against Airbnb and owners regarding this but no dollar figures. How much could the lawsuit be for if we paid $700 for a 5 day stay?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Cameras in the bedrooms and areas where there is a heightened level of privacy expectation is unlawful invasion of privacy. Even though there was a sign saying the property was under 24 hour surveillance if you were not told of the bedroom cameras, which are an unreasonable invasion of privacy, then you could seek to sue the owner of the premises not only for refund of your entire stay, the $3500, but also for the emotional distress of invading your privacy in the bedroom and the general value of suits like that run from about $25,000 to about $60,000.
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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for you response.I contacted the owner about it and she said the camera were off and weren't activated by the security company. Does that change anything? I don't even leave my personal computer with camera open in my bedroom cause you never know who is watching.There were four of us staying in the house. Would we have to show up to court in Hawaii if we decided to sue? I would prefer if we could just be represented by a lawyer. Could that work?What kind of lawyer should I look for?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Having cameras installed and having them operational are two different things. You would have to prove they were RECORDING or VIEWING you on the cameras in order to have a claim for damages. Having inactive cameras in a premises is not something that incurs damages. So, in court, you would have to show up and prove that the owner was recording or was viewing you over the camera in order to have a case.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That gets difficult. If they were recording I don't think she would admit to take. How could we prove that they were recording?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

That is the issue you would have in your case. You would subpoena their computer hard drives and would need a computer expert to review the computers to try to find the recordings. Absent that proof your case would fail I am afraid.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
How much would it cost to get a lawyer and subpoena them?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Typically a local attorney will want a minimum of $3000 retainer to start such a case unless you already have the evidence and then they usually would take it on a contingency basis.

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