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Privacy Act: Can a real estate agent take an image of my property or household belongings?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Chilliblue, 18th Jul, 2015.

  1. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    Again from the website

    Yes.

    But, the real estate agent must comply with the APPs when handling the image if:

    • the agent is covered by the Privacy Act 1988
    • the image (of your property or household belongings) has anything in it that can identify you or another person.
     
  2. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    I was pretty sure that most agencies aren't covered by the Privacy Act.
     
  3. Perp

    Perp Well-Known Member

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    In any case, the legislation applicable to the tenancy agreement applies, and Queensland has s 203 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 which says:

    "Unless the lessor or lessor's agent has the tenant's written consent, the lessor or agent must not use a photo or other image of the premises in an advertisement if the photo or image shows something belonging to the tenant."

    Tasmania has analogous provisions.
     
    Last edited: 18th Jul, 2015
  4. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    Agencies with a turnover under 3 million generally are not. However if they operate a Residential Tenancy Database then they are.
     
  5. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    Oh is that what the applicability provisions are? Depending on the wording, agencies don't really operate any RTDs - they just access and list on them.

    The Privacy Act gets pandered around way too much, especially around real estate agencies. I've literally never seen an issue come up in all my years of working in the property management dispute resolution area.
     
  6. Redwing

    Redwing Well-Known Member

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    It's surprising the number of times the privacy act excuse is used
     
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  7. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    Hence the reason that I decided to find out what the truth was and decided to share the information
     
  8. Perp

    Perp Well-Known Member

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    The Privacy Act statement you've quoted isn't the end of the matter. As I've said, photographing tenants' possessions is explicitly prohibited in Queensland and Tasmania, and is a grey legal area under the common law in other states. The Victorian Law Reform Commission just submitted a comprehensive report on the issue a few months ago (whilst it's a Victorian report, it addresses the legalities nationwide): http://www.lawreform.vic.gov.au/sit...ants_Possessions_Report_March_2015_forweb.pdf
     
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  9. Redwing

    Redwing Well-Known Member

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  10. Propagate

    Propagate Well-Known Member

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    When we rented, the landlord decided to sell. It was a sought after area, so HUGE signboards were erected on the front fence. I came home from work one day to find a photograph of my cinema equipment, (big screen plasma which was unusual back then, amp, floor standing speakers etc), about 2m x 1.5m up high on the top of the front corner wall. The photo did nothing at all to highlight the room as it was literally zoomed in purely on the TV area, it was more like a JB Hi-Fi catalogue page!

    I was furious, I covered it up and phone the agent, told them I wanted the phot changing. They were basically advertising all my stuff to the nearest bugler, I also had concerns that if we had been robbed whilst that signboard was displayed, it may impact my insurance cover.

    I also looked into the privacy aspect, turns out there was NOTHING i could do about it.

    The owners were tossers, they refused to have a new poster with a more appropriate photo on it. I could not believe their attitude.

    We were more than accommodating, leaving the house every Saturday morning for 4 weeks in a row and leaving it immaculate for their open houses, they were getting 10+ groups through every week, so we'd come home to that horrible feeling of so many people having been through your "home", different smells, things moved slightly, not knowing whether people had been through your drawers etc. and they wouldn't even change the photo for us.

    So, every day I covered it up with a huge sheet of paper, (just that photo, nothing else), and every day the agent would come round and uncover it, and I'd re-cover it agian when I got home from work. The agent threatened me with something or other about covering it up, can't remember what it was, but I just kept doing it....

    Thankfully, it sold pretty quickly after about the 3rd of 4th round of viewings so the agent plastered under offer stickers all over the offending photo for me.

    It's a good job I'm not the vindictive type, the sellers attitude to our privacy and that photo really annoyed me, and I made that quite clear to them yet they were not concerned that we could have made things very difficult for their open inspections and had zero respect for our feelings on the matter. If it were me, I'd have changed that photo quick smart! (Moot point, I wouldn't have used such an inappropriate photo in the first place).

    Anyway, long story short, in VIC at the time there was nothing at all we could do to have it removed, the landlord was allowed to leave it up without our permission and I was in the wrong for covering it.
     
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  11. Ed Barton

    Ed Barton Well-Known Member

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    Shame some local youths didn't spray paint it. wink.
     
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  12. Perp

    Perp Well-Known Member

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    Unless there's something in the lease or statute that explicitly grants the landlord permission, I would have thought you could have done something under trespass laws... the landlord doesn't have a right to enter on, or put things on, the property during a lease, without permission; the tenant has an exclusive right of possession. There are even well-known precedent-setting cases that are specifically about landlords' signs, where the tenant won. (It was a commercial tenant, but the principles are the same.)
     
  13. Propagate

    Propagate Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, interesting @Perp I did post all about it on SS at the time, can't remember who else I spoke to, but it seemed like there was nothing I could do back then (2007). Maybe we were looking at it as photography issue, as in what you can and can't photo and display, and missed the whole tenants/trespass/permission aspect.

    @Ed Barton I'd thought about the, ahem, very local 'youth' finding a tin of spray, but I'd already called the agent to vent as soon as I got home and saw it, I thought a spray tin it would be too obvious after that. Bit harder to get done for gaffer taping a sheet of paper over a sign board than vandalism.