Inspection photos and GDPR

Do you consider GDPR implications when taking photos at mid term inspections?

Tenants have the right to private enjoyment of the property they are renting.  The landlord or their representative are entitled to inspect the property at regular intervals, however the tenant can object to photographs being taken which include their personal belongings, photographs or items that could identify them. 

This creates a dilemma when it comes to inventory clerks carrying out mid term inspections.  Should you take room overview photos or not?  The simple answer is you need to ask the tenant for consent.  As long as consent is obtained in writing there should be no GDPR issues. 

When contacting a tenant to arrange a mid term inspection, it is good practice for the inventory clerk to ask them if they consent to room overview photographs being taken.  These photographs should only be shared with the parties relevant to the tenancy, such as the landlord, managing agent or tenant and should not be used for marketing purposes or shared on the internet. 

The AIIC recommends that our inventory clerks should always explain the procedure to the tenants upon arrival and ask them if there are any issues they would like noted on the mid term inspection report. Remember to explain that mid term inspections can protect all parties and help to avoid any issues with the deposit return.

If a tenant objects to photographs being taken, we suggest that the clerk only takes photos of smoke/heat/carbon monoxide alarms and any specific issues, i.e. leaks, black spotting etc with the tenant’s consent.  The clerk should provide a full written report detailing the condition rather than relying on illustrative photographs.

In any event, when taking photos of occupied properties, be sensitive and try to avoid the tenant’s belongings and family photos or paperwork lying around.  The purpose of the photos is to illustrate how the property is being kept, ensure there are no breaches in the tenancy occurring and check that there are no maintenance issues that have not been reported.

Published on 12/05/2022