A real estate broker representing a seller on a listing will no doubt encounter the situation where a buyer’s broker will want to take photos or a video of the interior of the seller’s property to share with their buyer. This occurrence is more likely to happen due to the current COVID guidelines in a particular area, as well as when the broker is representing a client that resides far from the property or is out-of-state. In addition, the buyers may want to take their own photos and video of the property as they walk through the showing of the home. The same is also likely to occur for a property management broker representing their landlord client when a broker representing a tenant or the prospective tenants want to photograph or video the home interior.
These situations are different from when a listing broker or a hired professional company is taking the photos or a video in a controlled setting and the listing broker has the controlled use of the images for their client for advertising purposes.
What can you do as a listing broker?
First, having a conversation with your seller or landlord client is crucial to make sure that they understand these situations may likely happen. This is important because there may be security issues for the client, as well as their tenants in a rental situation, such as the recording of security systems, valuables placed throughout the home, children’s personal items, medications, as well as other personal effects that can compromise a seller’s or tenant’s privacy. That discussion should also include the possibility that those images may be shared on the internet.
As a listing broker another best practice would be to get permission in writing from your seller or landlord client, as well as their tenants in a rental situation, acknowledging and granting permission for a buyer’s agent and their clients to photograph or video the property’s interior.
What can you do as a buyer’s or tenant’s broker?
As a broker representing a buyer or prospective tenant, a best practice would be to not take photos or a video of the interior of a seller’s or landlord’s home without the consent of the seller or landlord, as well as their tenants in a rental situation, or from receiving consent from their listing agent.
Also, if you have permission to photo or video, share it only with your clients, and express to your clients that these images should not be shared with anyone else or posted online without additional express permission. As a broker it may be difficult to control a buyer sharing it on the internet or with others, however, the sharing of these images without express permission may raise legal concerns.
To protect yourself from possible liability, it may be advisable to obtain the seller’s or landlord’s, as well as their tenants in a rental situation, a written Authorization and Release to obtain these permissions. This will provide proof of permission as well to ensure that one’s privacy will be protected. Talk with your employing broker and legal counsel concerning a written Authorization and Release.