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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  25 years experience
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Is a landlord allowed to take photos of the tenants personal

Customer Question

Is a landlord allowed to take photos of the tenants personal belongings 1)without consent of the tenant or 2)for the purposes of advertising the property?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.

Dear JACUSTOMER - I know of no statute that specifically bans the taking of interior photos since this is sometimes required for insurance or property appraisal purposes. Having said that my opinion is that the tenant can object to bringing a camera into the premises since the statute also does not specifically state that the landlord is permitted to take pictures and, as you say, only addresses the issue of inspection or emergencies. I'm not certain how much of a stand either the landlord or the tenant wishes to take with regard to this matter or whether anyone would want to actually go to court to contest the case since attorneys are expensive and the harm done by a photograph of some furniture and appliances is fairly benign.

In addition, our society is rather photo saturated from grocery stores to street cameras to ATM machines and banks so the privacy issue is somewhat watered down to protect only the most private of activities. I'm not certain if you are asking as a tenant or a landlord but if you are a tenant my suggestion is to tell the landlord the pictures are limited to only places such as a kitchen or living room and if you are the landlord I would suggest that you not force the issue if the tenant absolutely refuses to allow photos or that you limit any photos as I said above to only the least private areas of the residence.

If neither the landlord or the tenant can agree then the issue would have to be settled by the court as to the extent of privacy the tenant has and the extent to which the landlord can invade that privacy. The tenant has the right to the quiet enjoyment of the premises and the landlord has a right to inspect and if the lease provides for showing of the unit the landlord has the right to show it for future rentals. If the lease does not provide for showing of the unit for rental purposes then the landlord can only enter pursuant to the provision of the state statutes which is generally for inspection purposes.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am the tenant. Pictures were taken and posted online without my consent. These photos contain personal property as well as original artwork. This artwork is not to be reproduced without consent of the artist. This consent was not given. While I do not want to go to court over this matter, I would like to know if I have the right to ask them to remove the photos and take pictures of only things that are a part of the property itself. There is no legal reason for the photos to be taken...such as the landlord is not satisfied with the condition of the property or damages caused. I am mostly concerned with my right to privacy of my belongings and artwork.

Thank you.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.
Yes you have the right to ask him to remove the photos. I'm not certain why he was permitted to enter the premises in the first place unless it was provided for in your lease but this goes beyond showing the unit for rental or for inspection purposes. If he refuses to remove the photos then your only recourse is to file for a court injunction since suing for money damages would be difficult. I could not tell from your original question exactly what the facts were. Many times benign photos are taken to show what appliances are in a house or apartment or to show certain structural features etc. and I doubt a court would consider that as an invasion of the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of the premises but what you described goes beyond what I believe a court would consider permissible.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you very much. And your correct in the assumption that it was not just appliances and such. It was original artwork...paintings and sculptures. Have a nice holiday!
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 4 years ago.
You too and thanks for using our service - Dave

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