Rental inspections are an expected process when you rent a property in Australia. But are landlords allowed to photograph the contents of your home – and if so, what?
During a routine rental inspection, it’s common for real estate agents to take photos of the rental property. This serves two purposes:
- As photographic evidence for the property owner
Photos can be included in the Property Condition Report to show the condition of the rental to the lessor. They may also be used to document repairs and maintenance needed, obtain quotes, or issue a Breach Notice.
- For marketing purposes to advertise the property to buyers
Far less common, but the specifics regarding when photographs may be taken for marketing purposes should be outlined in your tenancy agreement.
Protecting your rights
Agents typically refrain from photographing your personal belongings to safeguard your privacy during inspections.
As we’ve covered in previous articles, routine inspections are primarily intended to ensure that the property is properly maintained rather than to assess the tidiness of the living space. Additionally, these inspections allow landlords to be made aware of any issues requiring attention, such as worn carpets or damaged blinds.
While there are no hard and fast rules governing whether property managers are allowed to take photographs of the property, it is generally subject to negotiation between you and your PM.
It’s worth noting that most real estate agents must comply with the Australian Privacy Principles when handling images that contain personal information, as outlined in the Privacy Act 1998.
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It’s important to maintain open lines of communication with your property manager.
For tenants, privacy concerns extend beyond just their personal space. Photos taken for advertising can provide valuable information to potential burglars, and sharing interior photos can put your safety at risk. This is especially concerning if these photos contain images of your family.
If your lease agreement doesn’t specifically mention the use of photographs, it’s a good idea to discuss your expectations with your property manager before any inspections. Let them know that you understand the need for them to see the property’s condition, but you want to ensure that any photos taken are used for that purpose only.
Most property managers will agree to let you remove personal items, such as family photos, before taking photos of a specific area. Removing sensitive items from view before an inspection is always a good idea.
Make sure that any communication you have with your property manager regarding your lease is done in writing or at least followed up in writing. This will provide you with a record of your attempts to address any concerns or issues that may arise.
I’m concerned about my privacy. What can I do?
If you have concerns about your privacy, there are steps you can take if you notice your property manager taking photos of your belongings during an inspection:
- make sure that any personal items are safely put away before their visit
- review the tenancy laws in your state or territory to determine when your property manager is allowed to take photos
- contact the tenancy body in your area
Remember that you have the right to privacy, comfort, and peace in your home.
Even if you can’t object to the photos being taken, it’s best to agree with your property manager that they won’t take pictures of any sensitive information.
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