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Smart home tech can help evict renters, surveillance company tells landlords

Published: November 19, 2019
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Source: cnet.com

Internet-connected locks and facial recognition systems have raised privacy concerns among tenants across the country. A sales pitch directed at landlords by a smart-home security company indicates that the technology could help them raise rental prices and potentially get people evicted.

A smart intercom company called Teman GateGuard has been pitching its surveillance technology to landlords in New York as a way to sidestep rent-control regulations in the city, according to emails reviewed by CNET. 

The email's subject line says, "GateGuard: 3 Steps to de-stabilize NYC units -- even after the new law!" and opens with the sentence, "You CAN raise rents in NYC!" 

According to the instructions in the email, a landlord can use Teman's GateGuard AI Doorman Intercom to photograph every visitor in the building to see if tenants are illegally subletting units. If tenants are caught breaking the rules, they can be evicted. Lastly, the landlord can combine or convert the unit to circumvent the rent control laws and charge a market rate. 

"Use the GateGuard AI Doorman Intercom to catch illegal sublets, non-primaries, Airbnbs, so you can vacate a unit," GateGuard's sales team wrote in the email. "Combine a $950/mo studio and a $1400/mo one-bedroom into a $4200 DEREGULATED two-bedroom."

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