The Commission’s report Photographing and Filming Tenants’ Possessions for Advertising Purposes seeks to clarify the rights of landlords/real estate agents and tenants.
It is common for landlords/agents to enter properties to take photographs that include tenants’ possessions, to advertise properties online. This is usually done with consent and is a normal part of the rental process, benefiting both landlords who want to rent or sell their properties and tenants who are looking for new places to live.
Problems can arise if the tenant does not give consent. There are currently different interpretations as to what the law entitles each party to do in this situation. The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 does not address advertising images and the Commission’s consultations revealed confusion among both landlords and tenants about what their rights are. In practice, some landlords/agents proceed without consent.
The Commission recommends that landlords be given the express right, subject to appropriate safeguards, to enter premises to take photographs for advertising purposes. The Commission recommends that tenants’ rights be clearly stated in law, in particular:
- Where a tenant at risk of family violence has concerns for their welfare, and objects in writing, the taking of images that contain tenants’ possessions that could reveal their identity, is prohibited.
- Landlords must give at least seven days’ notice of their intention to take photographs, so that tenants’ valuable and/or private items can be removed or concealed.
- Tenants have the right to prevent images of their possessions being re-used after 12 months.
The recommendations are intended to encourage landlords, agents and tenants to negotiate mutually agreeable outcomes that address the needs of all concerned, within a clear legal framework.