Can the agent take photos of my property during an inspection?

It can be concerning when a property manager intends to take photos of your home during an inspection, or for other purposes. 

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible for you to object to those photos being taken.

If the photos would show your property, including its contents and your physical living arrangements then it may be possible to object to the photos. This is because your tenancy agreement provides that the landlord (and their agent) must not cause or permit any interference with your peace, comfort and privacy (clause 52 of the standard residential tenancy terms).

If the agent passes those photos onto the landlord, or another 3rd party it will not always be possible for you ensure the confidentiality of those photos.  Also, as photography is not a requirement of an inspection, the agent does not have any particular legal right to take photos. In this situation you can refuse permission for the agent to take photos, or ask that they delete any photos you don’t agree with. If the agent contacts you and specifically asks for permission to access your property to take photos you can refuse access for this purpose.  If they insist on accessing the property, or taking photos you should make it clear that they do not have your permission to do so (in writing), or ask them to leave if they do arrive. If they do not comply with your requests, this may be a breach of your tenancy agreement, and you can contact the Tenants Advice Service for further information about your options.

However, if there is a good reason for photography to occur, for example, for the purposes of recording the need for repairs, having quotes done, obtaining landlord’s insurance then it may be reasonable for photos to be taken.  If so, those photos should not depict anything beyond what is necessary for them to be useful to a repair person or the insurance company.  Even if you cannot reasonably object to photos being taken in these circumstances, you still have the right to peace, comfort and privacy in your home – and so you should always discuss and negotiate what photos are taken. You should ask why the photos are being taken and who will get a copy. You may also request that you be allowed to view the photos before they are sent to anyone else, and that you receive copies of the photos.

You should ensure that any communication you have with the agent about taking photos at inspections, or for other purposes is in writing so that you have a record of your attempts to resolve the  issue.

For further information about access and privacy issues, see our fact sheet here.

Reviewed: 3/12/13



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