Council flat tenant ‘hasn’t used own garden in a year’ because of neighbour’s doorbell camera

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Mark Fairman has an allocated garden space within the grounds of the block-of-four flats. (Reach)
Mark Fairman has an allocated garden space within the grounds of the block-of-four flats. (Reach)

A fed-up council tenant says his next door neighbour’s doorbell camera means he has been unable to use his own garden for more than a year.

Mark Fairman, who lives in Foxbar, Paisley, has an allocated garden space within the grounds of the block-of-four flats.

But the 55-year-old, who has rented the property for nine years, says he feels like his privacy is being invaded as the Ring doorbell camera films directly into his garden – and has felt unable to use it since March 2020 as a result.

He is now calling for Renfrewshire Council to take action to have the camera – which he claims breaches data protection laws – removed.

Fairman has also tried to contact the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in Edinburgh – but he says he is “getting nowhere”.

He explained: “I have contacted the police about it who have told me it’s a civil matter and the council are telling me to speak to the police.

Mark Fairman says he feels like his privacy is being invaded as the Ring doorbell camera films directly into his garden. (Reach)
Mark Fairman says he feels like his privacy is being invaded as the Ring doorbell camera films directly into his garden. (Reach)

“I just want it removed. I feel like I am constantly being watched and that I have no privacy in my own garden.

“I haven’t been able to sit out my in my garden since the start of lockdown in March last year.

“I just don’t feel comfortable with the camera there. It’s only about two feet away.”

The ICO is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

But they stated that data protection laws “don’t apply if the cameras cover only the user’s own private property, including their garden”.

The authority said: “Capturing and recording such images is not itself a breach of the data protection laws.

“But CCTV users must ensure they comply with these laws and respect the data protection rights of people whose images they capture.”

They added that in cases like Fairman’s, he has the right to be told he is being filmed and also has the right to ask for copies of any footage containing him or ask for any of the footage to be deleted.

But Fairman said: “It just isn’t acceptable. I don’t know why it is necessary to have it filming where it is.

“Something needs to be done about it as I must have some rights in this situation.”

Renfrewshire Council stated that council tenants require permission when fixing any equipment to a council property.

A spokesman for the authority added: “The local housing officer continues to provide Mr Fairman with advice as we seek to resolve this matter.

“Any tenant or resident using filming equipment at their property should operate this in a responsible way to respect the privacy of others.”

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