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How do I get my landlord to let me look at security camera footage to identify a package thief?

  • Your landlord isn’t obligated to let you view your building’s security camera footage
  • But forming a tenant’s organization and speaking as a group may be helpful
Celia Young Headshot
By Celia Young  |
December 12, 2023 - 3:00PM
A large stack of cardboard boxes, envelopes and a cylinder are sitting inside a door of a building

A tenant's association can advocate for the landlord to install a better lock/intercom system or a package locker.


I live in an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and my roommates and I have had our packages repeatedly stolen. Our building has security cameras in the entryway, but our landlord refuses to watch the footage unless we call the police, and they demand it. Is there any way I can make him let me look at the footage? Or make him review it without involving the cops?

Unfortunately, your landlord isn’t obligated to share surveillance footage with you. Luckily, there are a handful of things you can do, including contacting the police or organizing with your fellow tenants to put pressure on your landlord. 

If the police requests the footage, or a court requires your landlord to turn it over in the context of a lawsuit, your landlord would be required to give up access, says attorney Jennifer Rozen, president and owner of the Rozen Law Group. 

Outside of a legal process, your landlord doesn’t have to show you surveillance footage if they don’t want to, Rozen says. In fact, city buildings aren’t required to have functioning security cameras at all. 

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It is possible you could force your landlord to review the footage himself by arguing that his failure to look at it is negligent, if package theft is an ongoing problem, says attorney Catherine Grad, a partner at Himmelstein McConnel Gribben & Joseph (and a Brick sponsor FYI).

“All law is [just], ‘is there an argument in support of your claim?’” Grad says. “Yes, there’s an argument for the claim that the landlord has this duty. I don't think that it's such an arduous duty to impose on the landlord, to say, ‘hey, my package disappeared in the last 24 hours. Check out the security footage and figure out whether or not you have a security problem in this building.’” 

But that argument would depend on the circumstances. For example, if your front door doesn’t lock, you could argue your landlord is failing to meet his obligation to keep the building in a safe condition. However, if it is other residents stealing the packages, or if you have a package room that you’re failing to use, that would be a different story, Grad says. 

There are a handful of other steps you can take to protect your packages. If theft is a building-wide issue, you could speak to other tenants and form a tenant’s association to collectively request that your landlord review the footage. You could also use that association to ask for other solutions, such as a package locker, Rozen added.

“A tenant's association [can] advocate for the landlord to install a better lock/intercom system or a package locker, which has worked well in limiting stolen packages in a number of buildings,” she says.

You can also request that your packages are dropped off at secure locations such as a UPS Access Point or Amazon Hub, or invest in a post office box. 

Some shipping companies will let you schedule your delivery for when you are home. But if you’re going to be out of town, consider delivering packages to friends or neighbors who will be home, or simply ask them to keep an eye out for your box.

Celia Young Headshot

Celia Young

Senior Writer

Celia Young is a senior writer at Brick Underground where she covers New York City residential real estate. She graduated from Brandeis University and previously covered local business at the Milwaukee Business Journal, entertainment at Madison Magazine, and commercial real estate at Commercial Observer. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

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