A New Zealand landlord who posted photos of a tenant’s possessions when advertising his property on a lettings platform has been ordered to pay her compensation – and a rental legal expert warns that UK landlords should take heed.
Monika Kuciel claimed Crockers Property Management in Auckland displayed her possessions in the listing photos without consent.
A tenancy tribunal found that she had a “strong expectation” of privacy inside her home and as the landlord’s actions were intentional, ordered it to pay her NZ$520.
According to the tribunal, Ms Kuciel allowed office staff in to take photos but didn’t agree to have her belongings photographed.
The tribunal decided that Crockers Property Management had, “interfered with the tenant’s privacy in circumstances that amount to harassment.”
Right to privacy
It added: “The landlord was aware of what the photographs were for, had control over what photographs were used, and should have been aware of the tenant’s right to privacy, and the need to obtain consent before using the photographs.”
Tessa Shepperson, a lawyer at Landlord Law Services, says in the UK, if a tenant can show that photo taking was excessive and unnecessary, it could constitute a breach of their ‘covenant of quiet enjoyment’ – one of the principal covenants in most residential leases.
“If similar photographs were made public on a property portal, then I suspect a tenant may have cause to complain – particularly if the photos show valuable items and so may prompt criminals to target the property or if they are pictures of children,” Shepperson tells LandlordZONE.
But she adds that when tenants are given notice of visits, they can prepare for them by putting some things, such as watches and jewellery, away so they can’t be photographed.