Photo: iStock/diego_cervo.

Property inspections are part of the game when you rent in Australia. If your agent has indicated they need to take photos, here’s what you need to know.

One of the more common questions we’re asked is around photos being taken during routine inspections. So what photos are okay, and what aren’t?

Why are photos taken during a routine inspection?

If you think about the purpose of a routine inspection, it’s not to check whether you’ve made your bed or how tidy you’ve kept your kitchen. A routine inspection is done to ensure the rental property is being maintained. Inspections are also a chance for property managers to provide your landlord with an update about any issues, such as worn carpet or deteriorating blinds.

Most agencies will take photos of each room in an inspection. To protect your rights, they will be careful not to include photos of your possessions.

A property manager will take photos for a variety of reasons which are deemed reasonable:

  • To record the need for repairs/maintenance
  • To have quotes done
  • To provide advice to the owner on the landlord’s insurance

When this occurs, these photos should not depict anything that is beyond necessary for a repair to be actioned or for an insurance company.

In most cases, the photos are taken as part of a report provided to the property owner to show the rental is being kept in good condition.

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Can I object to photos being taken in my rental property?

If your property manager’s photos would show your personal possessions, you may be able to object to these photos.

This is because your tenancy agreement says that your landlord (and the agent managing the property) must not permit any interference with your peace, comfort and privacy.

I’m concerned about my privacy. What can I do?

If your agent takes photos of your possessions and you’re concerned about your privacy, consider the following:

  • If the photos are taken at the time of your rental inspection or other required activity by the owner, it’s recommended that all photos are sighted, signed and dated. These photos should not depict anything beyond what is necessary.
  • You should ask if your property manager plans to take photos and then ensure your personal items are put away before their visit.
  • Tenancy laws in your state can address when your real estate agent is permitted to take photos in your rental.
  • For other concerns, contact your state or territory rental tenancy body.

Keep the communication lines open

You have a right to privacy, comfort and peace in your home, so even if you cannot reasonably object to these photos being taken, the best solution is an amicable agreement with your property manager that they will not photograph any personal or sensitive information.

You are within your right to request that you can view the photos before they’re sent to anyone else.

Any communication you have with your property manager or landlord about taking photos at your rental inspection or for any other purpose during your tenancy should always be done (or followed-up) in writing. This will give you a record of your attempts to follow an issue through.

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