On 19 December 2013, the Victorian Law Reform Commission initiated a community law reform project on photographing and filming tenants’ possessions for advertising purposes under the following terms of reference:
The Victorian Law Reform Commission will consider and review aspects of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) and other laws relevant to the practice of publishing photographs and videos of residences which include tenants’ possessions when advertising rented properties for sale or lease.
The Commission will:
• Identify the practices that are commonly followed by landlords and landlords’ agents who photograph and film tenanted residential properties.
• Examine the effect of the practices on tenant privacy, security and possessory rights, as well as the tenant’s ‘right to quiet enjoyment’ under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) (section 67).
• Determine the source, scope and adequacy of the legal basis on which landlords and their agents rely when photographing, filming and publishing images of tenants’ possessions.
• Consider whether the current law provides adequate access for landlords and their agents for the purposes of advertising rented premises for sale or lease.
• Consider whether the current avenues of dispute resolution available to tenants, landlords and landlords’ agents are sufficient and effective if disputes arise.
The Commission will consider legislative developments in Australian and international jurisdictions, with particular focus on Queensland and Tasmania.