Southeast Houston man says he was forced to remove his Ring doorbell

A Southeast Houston man says he was ordered to remove his Ring doorbell after getting leasing office approval to set it up, which brings up the question: Should apartment residents be allowed to have their own home security systems?

Derek Gray’s Ring doorbell helped solve a theft in the three months since it’s been up. Now he’s been ordered to go without surveillance at his home. 

"Javier is going to be taking this down," the manager of Las Palmas Apartments is captured saying on Gray’s Ring camera Tuesday. "It’s illegally put up.”

She presented Gray with a notice saying he was “disturbing or threatening the rights, comfort, health, convenience and safety of others” and his ring device “must be removed immediately.”

“(She said) it is disturbing your neighbors,” Gray told Fox 26. “(The neighbor) does not want to be recorded or videoed, and I even offered multiple concessions saying that I will be happy to install a blind so it does not view her door, but I want to be able to see who is at my door.”

Gray is a 17-year veteran of the Air Force and Army and suffers PTSD. He says that is part of why home surveillance is important to him, in addition to the fact that his Ring camera captured a bicycle theft in April.

“My sense of security and peace is essential,” said Gray.

His security concerns did not stop the apartment manager from presenting him with the notice last week followed by an in-person visit accompanied by maintenance and two police officers Tuesday.

“They did not give me any orders or anything of that nature," said Gray. "They were basically intimidation.”

“Yeah yeah, you do what you need to do,” Gray says in the recording on Ring as he dismantles the camera in front of the manager and officers Tuesday.

“I do not feel safe," Gray said Wednesday. "I do not feel secure, and quite frankly I do not want to stay somewhere where I do not feel safe and secure.”

The Las Palmas Apartments management declined to comment on the incident when FOX 26 talked with them Wednesday.

Gray says he’s seeking out a new place to stay.

FOX 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico says the issue of surveillance cameras on rental properties is a civil issue, not criminal. He says the Ring cameras are newer than a lot of leases, and the language in the leases has not caught up with the modern technology. Therefore, property owners are making rules about the cameras as they go, and those conflicts can be taken to civil court where a judge would either rule in favor of the property owner or the tenant.