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Landlords taking photos while tenants still there?

By 14 March 2011 36

I’d like some advice.

A friend of mine has just received a letter from her property manager (she is a renter) stating that when they conduct the inspection in the next 10 days the property manager will be taking photos of everything.

I’d just like to know if this is legal from a privacy perspective?

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36 Responses to Landlords taking photos while tenants still there?
#1
urchin12:52 pm, 14 Mar 11

Going by

http://www.tenantsact.org.au/Advice/access.html

I would say that the tenant has every right to refuse to allow photographs. This is a pretty major breach of the tenant’s right to privacy. It is also, I am sure, why many rental properties on the market (for sale or rent) do not have interior photographs.

It would be entirely within their rights to either refuse and/or demand some compensation for the loss of privacy. In any case it’s clear that the landlord is getting ready to sell up so I would tell your friend to start looking for new digs unless s/he is on a fixed term lease.

#2
miz12:56 pm, 14 Mar 11

Seems dodgy to me. The only reason I can think of would be if they wanted to post the pictures on allhomes.com – ie, they are thinking of selling. Have they given notice to vacate?
If they are not selling, I would personally be concerned about the risk of people looking for ‘cash convertible’ goods (eg your television/computer).

I would anticipate that written permission would have to be sought, and you could therefore decline. However, I suggest you ask the tenants union (http://www.tenantsact.org.au/contact.html (they have restricted contact hours, so look them up at this link).

If they are wanting to address issues about the condition of the property, those concerns can be addressed by the usual inspection and condition reports.

#3
Deref1:01 pm, 14 Mar 11

Tell them it’s fine, providing they don’t take photos of anything that’s here. That should fix ‘em. ;-)

#4
georgesgenitals1:06 pm, 14 Mar 11

How about asking if you can see the photos first, to make sure there’s nothing in them you would prefer not to be released. Is having a few photos that much of an issue?

#5
Clown Killer1:41 pm, 14 Mar 11

Tell your ‘friend’ to suck it up. Its an inspection. The property manager will be taking photos for their report to the landlord. It’s standard industry practice. If they check their rental agreement there may well be something in there about it. Yoy ‘friend’ should probably consume a little less of whatever’s making them paranoid.

#6
Davo1111:58 pm, 14 Mar 11

I’d tell them they’re welcome to come and inspect the house, but they’re not allowed to bring a camera.

If they have an issue with that, they should bring it up with ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT). (Unless they can provide legal documentation that explicitly allows them to bring a camera)

Oh and i’d tell them they need to bring photographic id to the inspection to prove they are the tenancy manager (cl76)

#7
Rawhide Kid Part32:02 pm, 14 Mar 11

They can’t take any photos that include any personal property in the picture, including wall hangings, furniture, electrical goods etc.

#8
urchin2:26 pm, 14 Mar 11

Clown Killer said :

Tell your ‘friend’ to suck it up. Its an inspection. The property manager will be taking photos for their report to the landlord. It’s standard industry practice. If they check their rental agreement there may well be something in there about it. Yoy ‘friend’ should probably consume a little less of whatever’s making them paranoid.

No, it’s not “standard industry practice” and no the friend doesn’t have to suck it up. They have the right to inspect and to take notes but not to photograph. The standard rental agreement does not contain any clauses requiring tenants to have photos of their personal belongings taken. It only says that inspections may take 2x/year and that the tenant has provide the owner/agent reasonable access.

however the standard agreement does say: “The lessor must not cause or permit any interference with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of the tenant in the use by the tenant of the premises.” I would say that taking photographs of the tenant’s private property would be considered to interfere with the privacy of the tenant, regardless of whether the photos are to be published on allhomes or used in a report to the owner.

#9
Clown Killer2:43 pm, 14 Mar 11

The chumps on here trout-mouthing about how the landloard/property manager cant cant take photos should go over to Allhomes if they really want to get their panties in a knot – many hundreds of properties, all but a very few with pictures.

Its no big deal. As I said earlier, its for the inspection report. The land lord gets a copy, the tennant gets a copy and the property manager keeps a copy. Given that there’s no breach of privacy, I dont see what the issue is.

#10
Jethro3:45 pm, 14 Mar 11

Clown Killer said :

Tell your ‘friend’ to suck it up. Its an inspection. The property manager will be taking photos for their report to the landlord. It’s standard industry practice. If they check their rental agreement there may well be something in there about it. Yoy ‘friend’ should probably consume a little less of whatever’s making them paranoid.

Can I come to your house and take photos of everything?

#11
urchin4:15 pm, 14 Mar 11

Clown Killer said :

The chumps on here trout-mouthing about how the landloard/property manager cant cant take photos should go over to Allhomes if they really want to get their panties in a knot – many hundreds of properties, all but a very few with pictures.

Its no big deal. As I said earlier, its for the inspection report. The land lord gets a copy, the tennant gets a copy and the property manager keeps a copy. Given that there’s no breach of privacy, I dont see what the issue is.

So where does it say in the tenancy agreement that the LL has the right to take photos of the personal belongings of tenants? Why do you suppose that the houses on allhomes–almost invariably leased to a tenant–do not have pictures? Because the tenant has the right to refuse pictures if they don’t want them to. It’s their right. Whether or not they choose to exercise it is up to them. It is not the landlord’s right to demand it, no matter what you seem to think.

#12
Clown Killer5:55 pm, 14 Mar 11

Urchin, go have a look on Allhomes. There’s plenty of rental properties advertised that have pictures of peoples stuff in them, a) because it’s not illegal, and b) because the people who own that stuff are not paranoid arsehats. But I digress – this isn’t about pictures on the internet – it’s about a proper record of the condition of the property.

A property manager would be required to make appropriate records at the time of a condition inspection, naturally that would include photographic records. There is no privacy issue because the only people who have copies of the photos are the parties to the rental agreement – the tenant, the landlord and their agent. Given that it’s basically common practice I’m guessing the ‘friend’ referred to by the OP is in their first ever lease and was previously living at home with mummy and daddy.

#13
georgesgenitals7:04 pm, 14 Mar 11

So anyway I says to Jenny, I says “holy crap – these people have a THREE PERSON COUCH!”

#14
Deref7:18 pm, 14 Mar 11

Jethro said :

Clown Killer said :

Tell your ‘friend’ to suck it up. Its an inspection. The property manager will be taking photos for their report to the landlord. It’s standard industry practice. If they check their rental agreement there may well be something in there about it. Yoy ‘friend’ should probably consume a little less of whatever’s making them paranoid.

Can I come to your house and take photos of everything?

Me too. I’d like to get some photos of your TV and your stereo.

#15
JC9:12 pm, 14 Mar 11

Jethro said :

Can I come to your house and take photos of everything?

Umm, it’s not the tenants house, it is the landlords. Now so long as they don’t do anything ‘public’ with said pictures it is hardly a breach of privacy, if it were they wouldn’t even be allowed in the house to start with.

Now just wished I had taken some photos of the state of my rental property at the last inspection, if I had I wouldn’t be in an argument with the f’ing agent who let the f’ing tenant off some costly damage, both of whom state it was there before hand.

#16
Pandy9:57 pm, 14 Mar 11

JC said :

Jethro said :

Can I come to your house and take photos of everything?

Now just wished I had taken some photos of the state of my rental property at the last inspection, if I had I wouldn’t be in an argument with the f’ing agent who let the f’ing tenant off some costly damage, both of whom state it was there before hand.

Agreed.

Why cannot I take photos of:

the damaged caused to windows and furnishings;
the damaged casued by mutts who were not supposed to be there;
the installation of picture hooks without permission;
the holes made in the walls;
the filth made in the kitchen;
the hole made in the garden to make a camp fire.

Oh wait, is that because such proof might be used to keep the bond and more?

i’ll go and play my small violin right now.

#17
Davo11110:57 pm, 14 Mar 11

i dont get it, you take a photo before people move in, and you take a photo after they move out. How hard can that be to make a comparison?

#18
cleo11:09 pm, 14 Mar 11

While you pay rent, and signed a lease, it’s your house, not the landlords, never heard of taking picture’s, only before and after rental, starts and begins.

My daughter and myself had a landlord who thought that they could come on weekends and do the gardening, at first they said mow the lawns, I wasn’t present at that time this was said, my daughter was. This was never in the lease, then they wanted to come to the house and collect rent, we said no, would deposit into their bank account.
Another time they came around and wanted to know why were cars parked out the front on the grass, outside of their land, on government land, and went on about the old metal water lid, and accused us of damaging it, they even called the fire brigade because of it, of course the firemen laughed at this, which wasn’t in use, defunct, nothing to do with them, they used to drive pass to have a look. I had a gut full of this and called the legal tribunal, they said I had a case to sue, and that they were bad landlords, he also said unfortunately they think they can do whatever they want, this couple managed the property themselves, we signed a lease, when it arrived it was only part of lease, I asked for the rest of it and never arrived, as I was a property manager a few years earlier.

#19
Pandy11:26 pm, 14 Mar 11

Davo111 said :

i dont get it, you take a photo before people move in, and you take a photo after they move out. How hard can that be to make a comparison?

Because you are allowed to make 6 monthly inspections and if things are not right, they have 2 weeks to fix things. With repeated offecnces, you have grounds to terminate and if necessary to seek to evict. “You want proof? I’ll give you proof.”

#20
jake5554:00 am, 15 Mar 11

Pandy said :

Davo111 said :

i dont get it, you take a photo before people move in, and you take a photo after they move out. How hard can that be to make a comparison?

Because you are allowed to make 6 monthly inspections and if things are not right, they have 2 weeks to fix things. With repeated offecnces, you have grounds to terminate and if necessary to seek to evict. “You want proof? I’ll give you proof.”

You can’t handle the proof!

#21
JC4:11 am, 15 Mar 11

cleo said :

While you pay rent, and signed a lease, it’s your house, not the landlords, never heard of taking picture’s, only before and after rental, starts and begins.

My daughter and myself had a landlord who thought that they could come on weekends and do the gardening, at first they said mow the lawns, I wasn’t present at that time this was said, my daughter was. This was never in the lease, then they wanted to come to the house and collect rent, we said no, would deposit into their bank account.
Another time they came around and wanted to know why were cars parked out the front on the grass, outside of their land, on government land, and went on about the old metal water lid, and accused us of damaging it, they even called the fire brigade because of it, of course the firemen laughed at this, which wasn’t in use, defunct, nothing to do with them, they used to drive pass to have a look. I had a gut full of this and called the legal tribunal, they said I had a case to sue, and that they were bad landlords, he also said unfortunately they think they can do whatever they want, this couple managed the property themselves, we signed a lease, when it arrived it was only part of lease, I asked for the rest of it and never arrived, as I was a property manager a few years earlier.

Whilst you pay the rent it is your house to occupy and live in in accordance with the lease, it is however clearly still the landlords property, something a lot of tenants don’t quite get. The rest of your story does clearly show something that isn’t allowed, but that has nothing what so ever to do with someone taking pictures of THEIR property during an inspection.

#22
buzz8198:27 am, 15 Mar 11

It’s simple, for every photo they take, take a photo of the landlord and their car and what’s inside the car etc. That is assuming they already tell the Landlord NO PHOTO’s!

#23
georgesgenitals10:09 am, 15 Mar 11

Is there any particular reason why someone wouldn’t want the LL taking photos?

#24
Rawhide Kid Part312:16 pm, 15 Mar 11

Davo111 said :

i dont get it, you take a photo before people move in, and you take a photo after they move out. How hard can that be to make a comparison?

That’s the way it should be done.

#25
Davo1111:32 pm, 15 Mar 11

Pandy said :

Because you are allowed to make 6 monthly inspections and if things are not right, they have 2 weeks to fix things.

So before you go and look, have a quick look over the previous photos. Then go through the house on inspection and determine in there are issues. IF there are issues, then take out the camera for evidence. Dont go around snapping photos of the house, then making a comparison at home. Its really that simple.

#26
Joeofcanberra2:53 pm, 15 Mar 11

Seriously, what is with some of these pathetic so called landlords who comment on these forums, like they are some sort of Gods, and people who rent are complete assholes and societies Low Lifes?

Firstly, as a former property Manager, you cannot take photos for the sake of taking photos. I used to carry a camera on inspections, but only took photos of items that were broken or damaged that needed to be bought to the landlords attention (ie broken fences, ovens etc) to ensure that they cold keep their house in top condition, not as a device to report on tenants.

Prior to every inspection, I would pull out the original property photos of when the property had its incoming report completed for the tenant and take this with me to the inspcetion, and ensure I was aware of the issues.

But taking photos generally for the sake of it is not allowed and a breach of privacy.

What I am blown away by though is this attitude some landlords have. That they are someone special because they have an investment house, and its their God given right to do what they want. In most cases these landlords do not own the houses, and become so anal about small things that do not matter. I.e walls will get marks, and carpet will wear out. Its the same with picture hooks. All this is superficial, but some landlords are unrealisitic and picture the house like it was brand new and that somehow it should stay in this condition.

I rent myself. I have a recording studio in one of my rooms. I don’t want photos taken of these. I don’t want photos taken of my personal property not knowing in who’s hands they will end up in.

The whole purpose of the incoming inspection report is to clearly record the status of the property. And upon vacation the property needs to meet this standard, taking into account fair wear and tear of everyday living.

Periodic reports are to inform the landlord that the property has been inspected, and the condition the tenant has it in. If Landlords have issues about how this is being reported to them, thats their issue with their representative, not the tenant.

Also Landlords do have the option of attending inspections with the real estate agent. So

#27
harvyk13:40 pm, 15 Mar 11

I agree with Joeofcanberra. First of all there is an expectation of piece, quite and privacy (sect 51 – 53 tenancy act from memory).

Taking of photos without permission is not allowed, whilst the property manager has the right to ask, the tenant has the right to refuse. Taking photos inside a house against the wishes of the tenant would be seen as an invasion of privacy.

Just to set some of you landlords (and some property managers) straight, a tenant for all intensive purposes has full rights to use the property as their own. About the only thing a tenant cannot do is make modifications which is likely to affect the value of the property without authorisation from the landlord.

A landlord is permitted reasonable access to inspect the property to make sure their investment has not been damaged, they are also permitted reasonable access to repair any damage to the property, that is it.

The only time this is ever waived is in the event that the landlord has a genuine intention of selling, in that case they may request that the tenant makes the property available for potential purchases to inspect the property. The tenant is within their right to refuse an open house inspection, they are also within their right to refuse having pictures taken from within the property. They of course can’t refuse pictures being taken from public land, and pictures published of the property prior to them signing the lease.

As I found out after going to the tenancy tribunal with my former landlord, not all landlords or property managers (even “professional” ones) know what is and isn’t allowed.

#28
Erg03:59 pm, 15 Mar 11

A couple of people don’t seem to have grasped that “privacy” is not the opposite of “publicity”. The fact that they’re not putting your pictures up on Allhomes (or Facebook) doesn’t mean that your right to privacy isn’t being breached.

In any case, I’ve rented five different places over the last twelve years, and never had a landlord ask to take photos of the property while I was still occupying it. As such, my experience is that it is not “common industry practice”, and the above seems to back it up.

#29
JC5:08 pm, 15 Mar 11

Joeofcanberra said :

What I am blown away by though is this attitude some landlords have. That they are someone special because they have an investment house, and its their God given right to do what they want. In most cases these landlords do not own the houses, and become so anal about small things that do not matter. I.e walls will get marks, and carpet will wear out. Its the same with picture hooks. All this is superficial, but some landlords are unrealisitic and picture the house like it was brand new and that somehow it should stay in this condition.

Big mistake number 1. Not all rented properties are investment properties. Some, a lot in fact are the only homes of people who are renting it out for what ever reason (temporary job else where etc) and I don’t think it is unreasonable for them to expect that a tenant will treat their property with respect. You will find that is all most if not all landlords actually ask for.

Now whilst what you say about wear and tear is indeed true, come to my place one day and have a look at the pictures (taken after the tenants had vacated) of the damage done by my last tenants and tell me if you think it is fair wear and tear.

It just cost me about $800 to have the shower re-grouted because the lazy bastards couldn’t be bothered cleaning once a month and then tried to hide it by using white out on the grout. Of course the lazy agent didn’t pick this up so the tenants got out of that one for free. Damage to curtains, again not picked up by agent, but cost another $300 to replace the track and have the hook holders repaired. Again look at the pictures and tell me if that is fair wear and tear.

Dirty oven and kitchen, with fat around the cook top so thick you could run a takeaway fryer for a day with. Is that fair wear and tear? Nope

Bottom line is there are two sides to every story, though it is no wonder landlords want to take photo’s when they are legally INSPECTING THEIR property.

PS. Where does it say a landlord cannot take a photo during such inspection? Facts please….

#30
Pandy7:03 pm, 15 Mar 11

JC said :

Joeofcanberra said :

PS. Where does it say a landlord cannot take a photo during such inspection? Facts please….

Exactly!!!! Where does it say that they cannot take pictures of the house, before, during or after the rental agreement?

Where does it say in in clause 51 to 53 of the aggreement that:

they may smoke inside without due regard to the stink it will cause;
that they are alloweds to keep several mutts when clearly it was stated that they are were not to do so in the ads;
sub-let rooms;
use it as a crack house?

Let me tell you how tenants can continually breach clauses 63(a) to (c); damage, care and cleanliness.

Let me tell you how clauses 67 and 68 are ignored by tenants; making alterations.

And at Davo, can I bring my pictures that I took beforehand, whip them out during the inspection and things are not right, then whip my camera out and record the changes done to the house in front of the tenant without seeking their approvoal? Oh yes I can!!!!!

Some tenants are just assholes.

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