Here's the story:
Married w/ 3 Adult kids. All employed and moved out. Six months ago, 24-year-old single Daughter asked to move back home for a year to help save for an apartment. We agreed, and charged her only a small rent (that I planned to give back if she met her savings goals).
This past summer, wife and I went on a vacation and daughter, without our knowledge, held a party at the house. Upon return, we noted items in the house damaged or missing. Daughter admitted to what happened and committed to pay for damaged/stolen items.
I was upset and felt the privacy and sanctity of 'my castle' was violated. It made me sick to my stomach that strangers I didn't know were in my house and pilfered through my stuff. I got over it and we moved on. However, I made it very clear to my daughter that NO VISITORS were allowed in our house in the future unless we were present and/or approved in advance.
Fast Forward to the Holidays. After Christmas, wife and I went on a 3-day getaway.
Prior to leaving, I installed a wireless 'nanny-cam' device in the living room that is hooked up to the internet. I did it on my own without advising my wife and daughter - Kind of like a 'Trust-but-Verify' situation.
After a day, I logged into the camera about 9:00 PM and although there wasn't a party going on, my daughter had a guy in the house engaging in an activity I can't unsee. I quickly turned the computer off and told my wife....and then SHTF.
She accused me of violating my daughter's trust and dignity. She immediately called my daughter and advised that I was 'spying' on her - and our mini-getaway devolved into a series of mean-spirited comments and silent treatment. Upon our return home, daughter was in the process of moving out, and without getting into specifics, I'm apparently the equivalent of pond scum.
In my defense, what I saw for all of 5 seconds was not expected on my part. Daughter wasn't in a relationship or even dating. Further, she violated my explicit rule of not having guests over....and there was only a single camera that covered the living room - not an area where there is normally an expectation of privacy.
Although it's embarrassing all around, I don't think ITA. I believe I was within my rights to protect and surveille my house in the manner that I did.
Wife's position is that I had no right to put a camera in the living room without her knowledge, and daughter's position is that if she knew about the camera, she wouldn’t have invited anyone over, but nevertheless believes she did nothing wrong, as she was a rent-paying adult, and was entitled to have a single person over, and what I did was a gross invasion of her privacy.
For the record...I didn't pass judgment. Daughter is a mature adult and could have engaged in whatever legal activity she chose - Just not in my house involving another person. So here I am just over a week later, looking for the opinion of strangers on the internet? AITA?
ESH. You violated a trust. She violated a trust. Your daughter is 24 and you expect her to not have a guest... she's an adult, and you've been charging her rent, no visitors is unreasonable for that age, don't care if you were planning to give her rent back or not.
NTA - Why is everyone against this poor guy? He was robbed and incurred property damage last time he left for a few days cause by his daughter…not a tenant. If we presume one camera in a living room it’s no different than a nanny cam that no one else would object to. All the daughter had to do was tell her dad one guest was coming and do her activity in her room. His intent was not to see his daughter.
NTA. Like you said "Trust by Verify"... Its your home and she broke the rules you laid out to her! BTW, who the hell has sex on their parents sofa?! That's just gross!
Soft NTA or ESH. You were protecting your home after daughter betrayed your trust and caused damage to your property. However, it would have been better to discuss your plan beforehand with your wife as she had a right to know what you were doing in her home as well.
NTA I'll give you a ding for not informing your wife. However, the camera was in a public room. You gave her a strict rule of no visitors after having a party where your possessions were stolen and destroyed. Right there she can't be trusted.
" if she knew about the camera, she wouldn’t have invited anyone over,"
Right. Because she knew it was wrong. If anyone was sure they'd get caught they wouldn't do anything, right? Under the terms of her 'rental agreement' she was NOT entitled to have anyone over without your permission.
The fact that the minute you were gone she had someone over and did something you can't unsee in the living room was her way of giving you the middle finger-you can't tell ME what to do! That is not the behavior of an adult. Of course an adult wouldn't have trashed your house in the first place.
And Ginge-24 said:
YTA - putting up cameras in the home without informing the adults that live there is disgusting. It’s actually vile. You’ve shot yourself in the foot there, why not simply tell them you’ve done it. That would be enough to stop any potential party’s that MAY have happened.
I’m the same age as your daughter, I’d honestly never speak to you again tbh. You think she broke your trust, you’ve taken it to a whole different level.
My daughter - whom I still love very much, is currently living with a friend but most of her stuff is still here. It's a tossup what the future holds as far as her living situation. Just as I have softened my position with hindsight, so, I believe, has she.
However we still think each other is an AH to some extent - just not as much as one as the moment when the incident occurred.....and we just scheduled a weekend hiking/camping trip with her and her sister, so our relationship will be fine.