Here is a question to the blog clinic from Angela (not her real name) who is a tenant
I have recently had a tenancy inspection of my privately rented house which I have lived at for 2 and a half years. Within the last year, the agent has changed. When the new agent arrived, he proceeded to take photos of each room, from every angle. It took an hour.
I had not experienced an agent photographing during an inspection before and felt extremely uncomfortable and exploited. I told the agent this but it was explained to me that the landlords like this to be done and that the photos would be sent to the landlord in a report.
I hadn’t been asked and felt powerless to stop them. I just felt like crying. It seemed to me that the majority of the photos taken were unnecessary. I wouldn’t have minded if photos were taken of areas of ‘concern’ but this seemed over the top.
I don’t want people having photos of my belongings. I asked for a copy of the photos, to which the agent seemed reluctant. I’d really appreciate it if you could explain to me the law regarding this issue and if I will be obliged to allow the same to happen in 6 months time? Many thanks in advance..
This sounds to me like a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment (a fundamental right of tenants which means that you are entitled to be left to live in the property without interference or unnecessary intrusion).
From what you say it sounds as if there was no real reason for these photographs to be taken, and as they have never been taken before and presumably they are not authorised by the tenancy agreement, I think your consent should be been sought first.
You would be within your rights, in my view, to object to this happening again (save where there is a genuine reason for the photograph – for example of areas of damage). I cannot see any reason why the landlord should need pictures of your possessions and it sounds like a gross intrusion on your privacy to me.
I think you should write to the agents and ask they why they consider the photographs are necessary when they have never been taken before and request that they do not do this again, without getting your permission first.
However, I should warn you that if the landlord and agents feel that you are being uncooperative, there is no reason why they should not serve a section 21 notice on you and require you to vacate. So far as I am aware this is not something that the new anti retaliatory eviction laws will cover.
If you are a good tenant otherwise, I don’t see why they should want to do this, but you can never tell.
What do others think?