Why your neighbours can sue you over a Ring doorbell

Do you have a Ring doorbell? Well, your neighbours just might be able to sue you, depending on how you use it! Here’s why!

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Anxious young man biting his nails fingers

Image source: Getty Images

That Ring doorbell you’ve set up outside your home? You best make sure it complies with privacy laws – or you could find yourself in court. Here’s how the judgment could affect your home security setup, and other ways you might secure your home and lower your home insurance premium

[top_pitch]

Inflation Is Coming

Inflation is out of control, and people are running scared. But right now there’s one thing we believe Investors should avoid doing at all costs… and that’s doing nothing. That’s why we’ve put together a special report that uncovers 3 of our top UK and US share ideas to try and best hedge against inflation… and better still, we’re giving it away completely FREE today!

Click here to claim your copy now!

What is a Ring doorbell?

A Ring doorbell is a ‘smart’ doorbell. It connects to your home Wi-Fi network and sends you an alert whenever it detects movement outside your door. 

  • There’s an HD camera, so you can see whoever is outside. 
  • You can chat with the visitor using the two-way talk function. 
  • The camera can record what’s going on outside your door and store it in a secure cloud location.

So, a Ring doorbell can help you to protect your home.

What’s the law around Ring doorbells?

Well, they’re perfectly legal in the UK. However, if you have a Ring doorbell, you must comply with UK privacy laws – here’s a cautionary tale to explain why.

In Oxfordshire, a Mr Woodard installed four Ring doorbells around his property to protect his home from burglars. 

The problem? The doorbells captured footage of his neighbour’s house, garden, parking space and garden shed. His neighbour, Dr Fairhurst, claimed this was an invasion of her privacy.

  • Mr Woodard didn’t ask his neighbour’s permission before installing the devices.
  • The devices could capture audio and video footage of Dr Fairhurst’s private property.
  • As a result, the judge found that the doorbells breached UK privacy laws.  

The outcome? Mr Woodard has been ordered to pay his neighbour up to £100,000 in damages for invading her privacy using Ring doorbells. 

How do I use my Ring doorbell legally?

To be clear, the judgment doesn’t mean you can’t use your doorbell anymore. It just means you need to be careful about how you use it. To help you comply with the law, here are some tips for using a smart doorbell: 

  • Tell your neighbours before you install a Ring doorbell. 
  • Toggle the settings so you’re only capturing the area immediately outside your front door.  
  • Put up a sticker or sign on your door saying the area is monitored by Ring. 

If you live in a flat or it’s impossible to set up the doorbell without capturing your neighbours as they go about their daily business, you might be better off using other security devices. Contact Citizens Advice or a similar organisation if you’re unsure whether your doorbell is legal or not.  

How else can I secure my home?

Sure, a Ring doorbell can give you peace of mind at home. Remember, though, that it’s not the only way to upgrade your home’s security. And what’s more, a smart doorbell won’t necessarily help you get cheaper home insurance

With all that in mind, here are some other ways you can protect your home:

  • Start with a simple burglar alarm – some insurers may offer a discount if you have one. 
  • Make sure all doors and windows have secure locks. 
  • Put up a CCTV sign. Even if there’s no camera, the sign might be enough to deter would-be intruders.
  • Do you have high-value items, like jewellery? Consider buying a safe. Again, there’s a chance an insurer might offer a discount on your policy. 
  • Don’t advertise your movements on social media. You could actually void your insurance policy if you make it obvious when you’re not home or you’re on holiday! 

So, even if a Ring doorbell isn’t right for your property, you can still make your home a little safer this winter. 

[middle_pitch]

Takeaway

In short, it’s perfectly legal to use a Ring doorbell or similar smart device. However, just make sure your neighbours know about it, and change the settings so you’re only capturing the smallest area necessary. And remember, you can always take other steps to safeguard your home if you’re worried about your neighbours’ privacy. 

Finally – are you looking for cheaper home insurance? Don’t forget to check out our pick of home insurance comparison websites if you need help finding a good deal.

More on Personal Finance

Note paper with question mark on orange background
Personal Finance

Should you invest your ISA in a model portfolio?

Which model ISA portfolios offer both high performance and low fees? Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor and AJ Bell go under…

Read more »

Economic Uncertainty Ahead Sign With Stormy Background
Personal Finance

Is it time to exit emerging markets investments?

Investors may well be sitting on losses from emerging markets funds. Is it worth keeping the faith for a sustained…

Read more »

Personal Finance

Share trading? Three shares with turnaround potential

Share trading has been difficult in 2022, but which companies have turnaround potential? Jo Groves takes a closer look at…

Read more »

Man using credit card and smartphone for purchasing goods online.
Personal Finance

Revealed! Why Gen Z may be the savviest generation when it comes to credit cards

New research reveals that Gen Z may be the most astute when it comes to credit cards. But why? And…

Read more »

Environmental technology concept.
Personal Finance

The 10 best-performing sectors for ISA investors

The best-performing sectors over the past year invested in real assets such as infrastructure, but is this trend set to…

Read more »

Road sign warning of a risk ahead
Personal Finance

Recession risk ‘on the rise’: is it time for investors to worry?

A major global bank has suggested the risk of a recession in the UK is 'on the rise'. So, should…

Read more »

pensive bearded business man sitting on chair looking out of the window
Personal Finance

1 in 4 cutting back on investments amid cost of living crisis

New research shows one in four investors have cut back on their investing contributions to cope with the rising cost…

Read more »

Image of person checking their shares portfolio on mobile phone and computer
Personal Finance

The 10 most popular stocks among UK investors so far this year

As the new tax year kicks off, here's a look at some of the most popular stocks among UK investors…

Read more »