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REIQ Journal : November 2008
18 Legal Issues PHOTOGRAPHS, ADVERTISING AND THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY: What every real estate agent should know By Brett Heath, Special Counsel, Carter Newell Lawyers Photographs of properties for sale or rent are key tools in any effective promotional campaign. However, agents must be careful about how photographs are taken, and how they are used. WHAT THEN ARE the do’s and don’ts of taking and publishing photographs of properties? The right to privacy Although it is common for people to talk about their “right to privacy”, there is in fact no statutory or constitutional right to privacy in Australian law. Having said that, in 1988 the Commonwealth Government introduced the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (amended in 1994) which created a REIQ Journal November 2008 National Privacy Principle and prohibited any conduct in breach of that Principle. However, the Act is directed to controlling the conduct of the government, its ministers, departments, agencies and statutory instrumentalities with respect to how they use and disseminate private information and so is not applicable to real estate agents. However, damages may be awarded for an invasion of privacy in certain, unusual cases. How is this so? Because there is a recognised common law entitlement to the enjoyment of privacy. The legal basis of claims for invasion of privacy Agents should be aware of a decision of the Queensland District Court in the matter of Grosse v Purvis  QDC 151 (“Grosse”). In that case the court considered a claim for damages arising out of the alleged stalking of the plaintiff by the defendant. Damages were sought for invasion of privacy.
December January 2009