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Landlords taking photos while tenants still there?

By justsomeaussie 14 March 2011 37

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?

What’s Your opinion?


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37 Responses to
Landlords taking photos while tenants still there?
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kelly1935 5:40 am 03 Sep 18

I need some advice I have rented off someone for 5 years he messaged me to say he is selling the house so I have started to pack I need to be out as the end of the month so I have boxes and stuff everywhere is my landlord aloud to come to the house with an estate agent to take photos while my stuff is in there to put the house up for sale

Pandy 8:42 am 16 Mar 11

I just don’t believe that some people on this board think that the property that one resnts out somehow belongs to the tenant to do as they wish with: either they are badly represented or have poorly argued their case in front of the tribunal.

Thank god for rental insurance, the tax system, the agents blacklists.

Tooks 8:39 am 16 Mar 11

for all intensive purposes

Arrgh. Nooo!

Sorry, that’s a pet hate of mine.

JC 7:59 am 16 Mar 11

Jethro said :

I don’t see how taking photos of the tenants’ possessions would have changed this. Take a photo at the beginning of the tenancy and again at the end. Any major differences are tenant’s responsibility.

Speaking from the other side. As a tenant I would always take photos at the beginning of the tenancy, so that pre-existing problems wouldn’t be blamed on me. I learnt from that mistake the first time when I was forced to rectify pre-existing problems that I had had not been smart enough to photograph at the beginning of my tenancy.

It seems that you were unlucky because you chose a poor property manager who did not look after your property properly. You always had the option of renting privately and managing the property yourself.

A few other people have mentioned it already, but the attitude of a lot of landlords on here is that because people are tenants they have less rights than other people. Renters should expect a right to privacy. They should expect to not worry about people photographing their possessions.

One of the main reasons I bought my own place was because I was sick of being treated like a second-class citizen by landlords and property managers who treated me with contempt. There is a clear sub-text in a lot of people’s responses here which indicates that they too look upon their tenants in such a fashion.

Who said people were taking pictures of tenants possessions? No one that I know of. Sure tenant possessions would be in the pictures but surely that would be incidental. As for the privacy thing, please pray tell what is the difference between a landlord (or their agent) coming in and inspection, which they are allowed to do and taking photo’s during said inspection? If privacy was a concern then they wouldn’t be allowed in at all. Bottom line is they are allowed in to inspect and they should be allowed to use what ever tools they require to inspect and document the state of the house.

A breach of privacy would be, for example going through someones bookcase, computer, fridge, tenants furniture not taking pictures of the state of the house.

Yes in my case I did have a pretty poor property manager who should have picked up these things more, and yes I could have self managed, but a tad hard one you are not living in the same city.

As for the attitude of landlords, as I said before there are always two sides to every story. You say that landlords always treat tenants like 2nd class citizens etc etc, but come to the other side of the fence and see what tenants do.

I had 3 different ones over a 5 year period. First one were a young couple. They actually looked after the place pretty well. Yes they did some damage (hole punched in wall, wall kicked), BUT they took responsibility for that, advised the agent and then fixed it properly. I have no drama with that. 2nd tenant was an older lady who looked after the place above the call, the yard in particular. Last tenants were young couple who were tighter than a fishes arse. Expected me to pay for a gardener every few months (despite the lease saying they were responsible for garden maintenance). Refused to water the garden unless I payed for the water (again if you rent a property with a garden it is your responsibility to water it). Were upset at the fact that the house had evap aircon, so much so they asked me to change it to a reverse cycle or for me to pay for the water. Told them to not turn it on if they felt that way. Left the house filthy, left old furniture on the deck, in fact I would say they treated me with contempt.

So yeah like I said two sides to every story. Oh as for pictures would have been good to take some mid tenancy, would be an easy way of showing that their neglect had a direct effect on the state of the house when they left. Probably more important for long term tenants than shorter ones, but a good reason for pictures to be taken.

georgesgenitals 7:57 am 16 Mar 11

What’s kind of sad is that this is probably something that could be solved with a simple discussion. Of course, there will always be both landlords and tenants who are knobheads.

In related news, I’ve just gotten rid of a pain in the backside tenant. The fussiest, whingiest, rudest prick I’ve ever rented to. The nice young family that’s taking his place should be far better.

cleo 2:33 am 16 Mar 11

JC # 21

If you are renting and signed a lease, it is the tenants property, that’s what I was told by the legal tribunal, WHILE THE TENANT IS RENTING, the tenant is entitled to privacy, not being harassed by the landlord. On entering a property, I used to do a condition report, the tenant had about 14 to go over the property and report if any problems or write their comments on the report, and that condition report was checked when tenants moved out.
If damage done to property which isn’t wear and tear, well that comes out of the bond money. If serious damage done and tenant absconds, the agent puts in a report, and this goes to court, and the person is to appear in court, if they didn’t appear in court, and the people who gave them a reference, I would ring them and inform them what has occured.
And JC what was done to your property, you should have stipulated what type of people you wanted to rent your property to, and the agents for being slack, or maybe the agent was over worked, as I was, not enough staff. I wouldn’t rent to certain people, and would get the shits with the receptionist if she signed someone up, because she felt sorry for them, and I had to clean the mess up if tenant was a problem.

Joeofcanberran #26 I too was a property manager, and have experienced some nit piking landlords, some were great landlords also.

Jethro 7:53 pm 15 Mar 11

JC said :

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….

I don’t see how taking photos of the tenants’ possessions would have changed this. Take a photo at the beginning of the tenancy and again at the end. Any major differences are tenant’s responsibility.

Speaking from the other side. As a tenant I would always take photos at the beginning of the tenancy, so that pre-existing problems wouldn’t be blamed on me. I learnt from that mistake the first time when I was forced to rectify pre-existing problems that I had had not been smart enough to photograph at the beginning of my tenancy.

It seems that you were unlucky because you chose a poor property manager who did not look after your property properly. You always had the option of renting privately and managing the property yourself.

A few other people have mentioned it already, but the attitude of a lot of landlords on here is that because people are tenants they have less rights than other people. Renters should expect a right to privacy. They should expect to not worry about people photographing their possessions.

One of the main reasons I bought my own place was because I was sick of being treated like a second-class citizen by landlords and property managers who treated me with contempt. There is a clear sub-text in a lot of people’s responses here which indicates that they too look upon their tenants in such a fashion.

Pandy 7:03 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.

JC 5:08 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….

Erg0 3:59 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.

harvyk1 3:40 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.

Joeofcanberra 2:53 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

Davo111 1:32 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.

Rawhide Kid Part3 12:16 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.

georgesgenitals 10:09 am 15 Mar 11

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

buzz819 8:27 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!

JC 4:11 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.

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