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Don’t expose yourself – or your tenants

Don’t leave a tenant exposed when advertising a rental property for rent or sale.

The security and privacy of a tenant should be considered seriously when taking photos of a rented home for advertising.

Furniture, appliances and home décor may reveal a person’s socio-economic status and their identity, but more importantly, showing any items belonging to a tenant in photographs is against the law unless you have written permission.

Property managers/owners are reminded that the act of tenants allowing a photographer to enter their home cannot be considered as consent for photographs to be used. Written permission must be sought from the tenant before using photographs displaying their possessions in any form of advertising, including newspapers, on various websites and in brochures.

Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Meghan Hibbert said that photographs showing expensive electrical equipment along with the address of the premises could increase the risk of burglary.

“Similarly, using a photograph showing the outside of a property with a tenant’s jet ski or motorbike could also increase the risk of theft,” she said.

Using photographs displaying a tenant’s possessions without written permission is an offence, and property managers/owners can be fined up to $2,000.

“If unauthorised photographs are used to present a property for rent or sale, tenants can take action by issuing the property manager/owner with a Notice to Remedy Breach, requesting the offending photographs be removed.”

“Tenants who have had photographs published displaying their possessions without their written permission have the right to complete an investigation request, where the RTA will consider the grounds for education or enforcement action.”

When a property is for sale, there is a greater risk for other parties in an agency to inadvertently breach the Act. Property managers/owners are encouraged to work closely with their counterparts and ensure they are aware of their obligations.

“Sales agents should particularly take note as they can be held liable for a breach of this nature even though they are not the managing party,” Ms Hibbert said.

For more information about rental privacy and photographs of property, visit rta.qld.gov.au or contact the RTA direct on 1300 366 311.

The RTA is a Queensland Government statutory authority that administers the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. We provide tenancy information, bond management, dispute resolution, investigations and prosecutions, and policy and education services.