Taking photographs of my possessions and going through cupboards

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    Taking photographs of my possessions and going through cupboards

    Are letting agents entitled to take photographs of all my stuff?

    My wife and I are mature, professional, tenants of a 3 bed terraced unfurnished house in England, renting through a letting agency.

    At the first 3-month inspection, the letting agent photographed every room for each corner, all the hallways and even inside the larger cupboards and the fitted wardrobes. She looked inside every cupboard - kitchen, utility room, bathroom and bedrooms. She even looked inside the fridge and the dirty laundry basket.

    I've had thorough inspections before, but never a 1½ hour inspection like that one, while still in occupancy. I can cope with that, along with people looking inside the dishwasher at the dirty crockery in there, but it is the photographs that are causing me grief.

    There is another inspection this afternoon and I've been waking up at night worrying about it. The snooping in our cupboards, at my wife's clothes, at the dirty laundry, is just what you put up with from a mother-in-law, but taking photographs of everything for some strangers gives me the creeps. I don't know who the landlords are, what their DBS check says, what their references would say. Why are they so keen on pictures of people's bedrooms? Hoping for little girl's rooms, are they? Know some people who can shift valuable gear?

    The property was let unfurnished, so why does the landlord need to see my various computers, my wife's jewellery, my watches, our extensive CD collection, the contents of our book-cases? You can't see the floors and walls behind my furniture so what purpose does it really serve?

    This is what is waking me regularly through the night. These photographs are less useful than the letting agent's professional experienced opinion, so what is the real agenda?

    And why is the letting agent so keen to emphasise they have keys and don't need me here?

    (After the incident with the decorator and the paint on the cutlery, the missing book of stamps, and the builder and my wife's tidy knicker-drawer being 'disturbed', we NEVER knowingly let people in our home unattended. These are probably reasons why I am so sensitive.)

    I don't mind inspections, I really don't. We're grown-ups, we understand about other people's property and respect it. How about respecting our privacy?


    (It wouldn't be so bad if the house was immaculate, but much of the paintwork is 10 years old, bare wood visible on the woodwork on the stairs, holes in the walls from previous panel pins, pop-outs in the ceiling, electric fire not connected to anything, a bathroom light fitting that never worked from new that they won't fix, landlord's unwanted bits of old stuff left behind that ought to have gone to the dump. But such is the lot of the tenant.)

    #2
    Ooooooh! No! I don't open cupboards, wardrobe, drawers etc. That is way beyond my scope during in interim inspection. It takes about 30 minutes, at most, to do a 3 bed house, including chatting to the tenant!

    I take pictures from doorways, to reassure the T that I haven't gone rummaging. The only possessions that get pictured would be the ones in clear view, the ones the T had left out knowing there was going to be an inspection. I move nothing that belongs to the T - well almost never.

    - I have moved a pile of clothing piled on a loo seat, it looked odd and I do check white goods and sanitary ware. And yes, the seat and lid were broken and the interior of the bowl was filthy and possibly had a crack in it (too dirty to see clearly)

    - I have opened, and pictured, a wall cupboard. The LL was very fussy and I advised the Ts that it might be a good idea if I noted that he cupboard space was well organised, just so the LL would relax a little. I would not have done so had they said no, or if the cupboard was full to overflowing. Had they not been there I would not have done so.

    Express your dismay in writing, write to the manager of the branch, a copy to their Head Office, include a copy of the report. Make it clear that you are disturbed that the agent has taken pictures of your personal possessions and has rifled through your furniture containing your clothing, even your dirty laundry (I have absolutely no idea why that would ever be considered acceptable) etc, it is intrusive and beyond their scope of works, leads to a loss of your quiet enjoyment, possibly (it's certainly unsettling)! Also check that the landlord is made aware that this is how their agent is treating their tenants.

    I feel the need to apologise to you! Though it doesn't seem to have been in independent clerk who did this, I just don't feel I want to be associated with anyone who would do that!

    Comment


      #3
      I wish the agent had opened my tenant's cupboards. He might have noticed there were no clothes in there, as the place was being used as a knocking shop. Instead I got reports of how tidy it was!

      Comment


        #4
        Write (WRITE! or email) to landlord (yes LANDLORD), copy agent, keep copy instructing there be no more harassment, requiring return of all photos & distruction from their records of these images and no such photographing & intrusion in future.

        At next inspection require you are there - if not happy eject agent and change locks.

        Landlord/agent is only permitted (unless some weird clause in tenancy) to check property is OK for YOU not so agent can snoop on how you live.

        But JK0s problem is a real one.

        If only all agents would behave in a civilised, humane, manner. And landlords, tenants, MPs.......

        Such a shame that £250 cash you keep in that special cupboard went missing. Ever had a Rolex?
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

        Comment


          #5
          It is an intrusive inspection. I would like to hear the letting agents justification for this. I am wondering if the letting agent was sued by a tenant or landlord and now the agency have 'changed' their procedure. What are they looking inside wardrobes? Could it be a tenant tried to sue them for mould inside the wardrobe. The tenant demanding a new wardrobe of clothes. Something must have happened? Unless the agent has some festish with looking through other people's stuff.

          Even if a tenant has thrown rubbish / furniture into the garden, they still hold the landlord to account.

          You should limit the inspection to say 10 minutes.

          I have keys to my property, but I NEVER enter without the tenant letting me in. I never give keys to the property to a builder (unless the house is vacant). As you said, they can put paint over your possessions or have a nosey around the house. So I insist my tenants are at home for any repairs and they keep their possessions safe.



          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by JK0 View Post
            I wish the agent had opened my tenant's cupboards. He might have noticed there were no clothes in there, as the place was being used as a knocking shop. Instead I got reports of how tidy it was!
            I have added that to my list of things to think about during interim inspections!

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you all for your advice.

              I told the agent how I have been feeling about the photographs being taken. I was told it is quite popular with landlords, that it is quite secure because it only goes on their systems and gets sent to the landlord (that's secure?) and blah blah blah. I did the 'cracked record' thing, saying how it left me feeling intruded on and insecure, and countered the arguments she raised as to why it was necessary.

              Eventually she said "Fair enough. I don't have to do it. Many of our tenants have said they don't like it" !

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                I wish the agent had opened my tenant's cupboards. He might have noticed there were no clothes in there, as the place was being used as a knocking shop. Instead I got reports of how tidy it was!
                All I get from my agents is, it’s neat and tidy! No photographs no detailed report.

                When I had the new boiler installed I asked for a photograph of it to see if the pipes needed boxing in and that was a massive hassle for them!

                No offence to the OP it does sound like the agents in their instance went OTT but I just wish my agents gave me more details other than its neat and tidy! :-(

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Simes View Post
                  Thank you all for your advice.

                  I told the agent how I have been feeling about the photographs being taken. I was told it is quite popular with landlords, that it is quite secure because it only goes on their systems and gets sent to the landlord (that's secure?) and blah blah blah. I did the 'cracked record' thing, saying how it left me feeling intruded on and insecure, and countered the arguments she raised as to why it was necessary.

                  Eventually she said "Fair enough. I don't have to do it. Many of our tenants have said they don't like it" !
                  Wonder how they sent the photos to the landlord... Its not in force yet, but I bet their practices would fall foul of GDPR at some level.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Simes View Post
                    saying how it left me feeling intruded on and insecure,
                    I was taught, when you want to change someones behaviour, don't talk about whet they should or should not do; always talk about how it makes you feel.

                    Whilst they can put counter arguments to 'what you want them to do', they cannot reasonably argue against how their actions make YOU feel.
                    That should get them thinking about how they change their behaviour, rather than them being told (no one likes to be told, but if it is their idea...).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      It will certainly let them know how weak minded you are
                      There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                      If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                      Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Given the condition you claim the property to be in, I'd be grateful for a thorough documented catalogue showing its poor condition throughout the tenancy.

                        Secondly, if it is such poor condition it means there's a lot to document and keep track of.

                        I hate doing SoCs of properties that are either partily refurbished by the DIY expert or ones that haven't been maintained. Takes ages to survey and then write up.

                        This inspector may have a touch of the OCD.

                        If you don't like it move on or before expiry. Or serve Notice if you're in an SPT /CPT.
                        There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                        If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                        Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                        Comment

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