The Victorian Law Reform Commission is undertaking a review of the Residential Tenancies Act particularly with reference to the common practice of landlords and their agent photographing premises to show prospective buyers or new tenants and, in so doing, showing the current tenant’s personal property etc.
The Law Reform Commission is to investigate and report upon the common practice of landlords, and their agents, photographing tenant’s possessions whilst photographing the property that is to be marketed for sale or further lease.
Typically, the photographs may show not only the rooms in the home but, at times, the tenant’s personal property including furniture, works of art, etc. will be displayed.
Tenants are not always advised that an agent or landlord when, attending their property, intend to take photographs.
The Residential Tenancies Act does not give any particular assistance to this issue.
The Act does permit a landlord/or their agent to enter the property to show premises to a prospective tenant or buyer. The Act however is silent as to the right to photograph the premises and then publish it.
A tenant has a general right to quiet enjoyment which is protected by the Act.
Other states, particularly Queensland and Tasmania, have legislation requiring landlords, and their agents, to obtain tenant consent before photographing images that contain their possessions. This is not the case in Victoria and thus the Law Reform Commission’s interest in investigating the matter.
Good practice on the part of landlords and agents would dictate that they ought to advise the tenant of their intentions so that the tenant has the opportunity of either agreeing to the intended photographing, or declining or moving items out of view, etc.
People interested in advising the Commission may contact them on 03 8608 7800.
Author: Cathy Drake