Domestic Surveillance Equipment and Smart Doorbell Guidance

If you want to install CCTV or a smart doorbell on your home, there are some things you need to know.

The key thing is that you need to ask our permission to put up CCTV cameras but you don’t need to do this for a smart doorbell. You will also need to make sure you respect people’s privacy and comply with UK Data Protection Law.

Before going ahead with installation, have a look at the information below:

Plus Plus How can I make sure I’m not breaking the law?

Set up your doorbell or CCTV to only capture images on your land – so the garden and land immediately next to your home. If you do this, then data protection law will not apply to you. You will, however, be subject to data protection law if your system captures images of people, for instance, in a communal area or on the street.

Plus Plus What should I do if I want to install a doorbell but my door opens on to a communal area?

If your system captures images outside the boundary of your own home, you will need to follow the guidance laid down by the UK Information Commissioners Office (the ICO). This means you need a clear and justifiable reason for using the system that you can explain to an individual, or the ICO, if asked. You will need to explain why you think capturing the images, or recording voices, is more important than invading the privacy of neighbours or passers-by. You will also need to:

  • Put up signs saying that recording is taking place and why
  • Ensure you don’t capture more footage than you need
  • Make sure the footage is kept securely and that nobody can watch it without good reason
  • Only keep the footage for as long as it is needed and delete it regularly
  • Keep records of how and why images are captured and for how long they are kept
  • Make sure the system can’t be misused by anyone in the household or your visitors

Plus Plus What else do I need to think about?

You need to consider:

  • What is the most privacy-friendly way to set up the system?
  • Can the cameras be positioned to avoid intruding on your neighbours’ property or any shared or public spaces?
  • Do images need to be recorded or is a live feed enough?
  • Does the system have a sound-recording facility? Audio recording is very intrusive and in most cases, you should disable audio recording
  • Can motion recording be turned off? Most video doorbells allow for motion to be turned off, so it only captures when someone rings the doorbell

Where can you get more help and advice?

If you need any further guidance, contact us by calling us on 0300 303 1010 or emailing us at