Family sues Myrtle Beach vacation company over onsite video cameras

A lawsuit was recently filed in Horry County stating that the owners and agents of a vacation rental property near Myrtle Beach failed to inform a visiting family about the presence of onsite video cameras and audio recording devices on the property.

The family arrived at the North Myrtle Beach vacation home in July and claims that they found cameras recording their private conversations. According to the lawsuit, one camera was positioned to view an outdoor shower and pool and recorded minors in their swimsuits and even nude on at least one occasion.

According to Quincy Smallwood, who owns the property, there are three outdoor cameras as part of the standard security system, and the one near the pool is positioned towards the entrance, not the shower. He refuted the claim made in the lawsuit that someone was actively monitoring the security footage.

He mentioned that the presence of the cameras is completely disclosed, as the current online advertisement for the property clearly states that there are exterior security cameras, according to The Sun News.

Smallwood remembered that the family who were making accusations had attempted to bring a dog onto the premises despite the rental advertisement explicitly stating that pets were not permitted. He mentioned that he had proposed to refund the family in full if they chose to leave at that moment, but they refused his offer.

According to the lawsuit, after finding out about the security cameras, the family turned off the security system. A representative from Elliott Reality, the rental property agent, then repeatedly called the family to insist that they reinstall the system before forcing them to vacate the property.

Brandon Cox, the COO of Elliott Realty, chose not to provide a response regarding the particular legal case, explaining that it is against company policy to make statements on ongoing legal matters.

In an email, he stated that it is important to respect the rights of both property owners to protect their vacation rental investment and guests to have a enjoyable stay.

Regulations regarding the use of cameras in rental properties.

There doesn’t seem to be any information on Elliott Realty’s website about rules for security cameras or recording devices being used at their properties.

Airbnb currently does not allow hosts to use covert security cameras and will soon also restrict the use of any cameras or recording devices that monitor indoor areas. Hosts can have external cameras, but they must inform guests about them in their listing information.

Vrbo also does not allow any surveillance devices to be used inside the rental properties of hosts. Exterior cameras can only be used for security reasons and must be clearly communicated to renters, as stated in their policy.

In South Carolina, it is against the law for people who are not part of a conversation to secretly record or listen in on the conversation without permission.