Should we be taking Pictures????????

[size=4]Are Pictures personal iformation??[/size]

Your home’s sale price is private information

By Mark Weisleder | Fri Oct 14 2011
A few years ago, the federal Privacy Commissioner ruled a home’s sale price is personal information and cannot be advertised or disclosed without the permission of the buyer and the seller.

**This is what privacy legislation is all about — protecting your personal information. **
The lesson is that if you do not want to see your home’s sale price advertised after closing, then don’t agree to it.
In another case decided in 2006, an insurance company arranged for photographs to be taken of an apartment unit, without the tenant’s permission.
The purpose was to get examples of the state of repairs of the interior of the apartments to assist in figuring out the building’s value. However, the pictures included some of the apartment’s contents.
The Privacy Commissioner’s office found that while the purpose might have been to show the condition of the unit, it also revealed information about the tenant, including their standard of living, whether they could afford expensive media equipment, whether they loved music or art or cooking. This was found to be personal information and thus permission should have been requested.
What this means is that before a buyer or agent takes photographs of anything inside a seller’s home, even during an open house or home inspection, they should ask for permission.
In another case decided in 2008, a consumer asked their bank for a copy of the appraisal report the bank had done on their home. An appraisal contains information about other comparable property sales in your area that help the appraiser calculate the value of your property. The bank refused, claiming this was confidential commercial information and not personal information.
The Privacy Commissioner’s office decided that, while the consumer was entitled to the appraisal value of their own home, they were not entitled to the name or contact information of the appraiser, or anything related to comparable property sales, as this was the personal information of third parties.
The issue of privacy arises in the ongoing lawsuit between the Competition Bureau and the Toronto Real Estate Board, something *(
The Competition Commissioner wants Canadians to be able to go online and access the selling price of any home in Canada. The potential abuses are huge, starting with thieves who want to learn about potential victims and their lifestyle. Since buyers and sellers didn’t provide this permission, in my opinion, it violates privacy legislation.
It seems to me the Privacy Commissioner should be involved in these proceedings and I encourage all Canadians to complain to the Privacy Commissioner’s office in Ottawa and to federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis. To register a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner’s office, you can download a form from their website,, sign it and then send it in. You can email Paradis’ office at
Also read:
How private is your home’s selling price?

Mark Weisleder is a lawyer, author and speaker to the real estate industry. Contact Mark at

There is three things I am always careful to do when taking pictures. If the place is run down on the outside I do not showcase the home on the front page of the report. If the house or apt is in bad shape inside I only take pictures of the area needing corrections. If there are pictures of the people living in the home I am careful not to include them in the report.

Gee that sure would ruin those those MLS listings.
Roy ,you just made all the stager’s mad.

I generally put one picture of each room for clarity purposes. Maybe I need to stop this practice. I do screen pictures so as not to add in personal pictures or papers of the homeowner but never thought about the stereo or tv in the background. Not sure what to do now. The only way around this would be to get the owners or tenants permission before the inspection. Great, one more thing to worry about. THANKS ROY!!! LOL

Sorry for them they will have to get in line Fortunatly the I love Roy Line is very long and the others are very short and I try not to open the door to them…
Some times I find exciting info…

We did an inspection last week that said we where not to keep any pictures Gave the only set to the client on disk. Yes that was written in the report a first for us.

Sure must make it hard to prove the foundation crack was obstructed but since I take 300 @ stop I am not too worried.


Stagers and sellers obviously give their permission to those taking the photos.

I, for one, would not consider this a big issue unless the picks are of personal property etc. A pik of a panel, interior of a furnace or main water shut-off, crack in basement wall or deteriorated shingles certianly would not present privacy issues. IMHO

But, to each their own



Why I posted this is because I heard a short time after an open house .
The home was broken into and many Royal Dalton figurines where taken .
Mainly the very expensive ones . Coincident I wonder… Roy

Not on your life. Lots of places get broken into after open houses.:twisted:

not something new!

I don’t see how the picture of the leaky faucet or rusty furnace interfer with privacy of the homeowner.

I agree but do you think any home inspector just takes pictures of these thing’s only.
How can you be sure others do not take more at open houses , Roy

Never had an issue and doubt I will change my method based on fear.

No idea where you got the fear idea from I just posted what a Canadian Lawyer said ,
Yes we also take pictures at all inspections. … Roy

Just thinking how I am not going to worry about furniture or personal possessions in a shot as I never have before unless it was something obviously that should not be in a shot such as a set off handcuffs on a wall next to a whip or something else that jumps out at me.

We are not coming in unannounced and it is up to the seller to hide anything they wish to keep private.
My exception is when taking general room shots I let everyone know to move or smile.
Either way if someone is in a shot I photo shop them out in the report.

The only people that might get left in are Doormen as they seem to prefer the smile option.:mrgreen:
My belief is they are all frustrated out of work Actors wanting the Limelight…

Of course we as Home inspectors must make it clear from the start that we will take pictures for reporting purposes. Never have I had opposition to taking pictures. We keep copies also for testimonials in case of need.

Beauchemin, Marc-Andre, B.A.

I am not a big user of photos in reports. Most all times my client is present, when the client cannot attend I use photos in the report and I charge more.

However recently I did switch to Horizon Reporting system, and due to not completing my written report on site any longer I started to take photos of issues and compile the report back at home and use the photos for my reference only.

Haven’t read any case law in Canada that would substantiate pictures in a report have saved inspectors, while in a few cases the plaintiff did provide pictures post inspection in aid of their complaint.

Can anyone offer any examples of case law where an inspector used photos as part of his defence?

No case law here Ray but I did have a client try to claim that I did not inspect the attic.

Several photos of the attic proved her wrong… never got further than that.

Similar situations have occurred and photos ended the issue.