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Can A Landlord Photograph a Tenanted Property?

Photographer taking a picture of a messy apartment
Landlords in Ontario must obtain tenant consent before photographing rented spaces with personal belongings for ads, as required by privacy laws.
Written By: Baron Alloway

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As a landlord, navigating the nuances of tenant privacy while managing your property can be a complex affair, particularly when it comes to photographing your rental units. This professional guide is designed to help landlords understand the legal and ethical considerations surrounding the photography of rented spaces, particularly when those spaces are occupied by tenants.

Legal Foundations and Privacy

In Ontario, the framework guiding landlord and tenant interactions doesn’t directly address the specifics of photography within rented premises. However, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), a federal privacy law, fills this gap. PIPEDA treats photographs that could potentially include tenants’ personal belongings as “personal information.” Therefore, capturing images of a rental unit for commercial activities, such as advertising the property, necessitates the tenant’s consent.

The Importance of Consent

For landlords, the takeaway is clear: gaining explicit consent from tenants before photographing their living spaces is not just courteous—it’s legally required. This consent ensures compliance with privacy laws and protects both the landlord’s and tenant’s interests. Ideally, this consent should be documented in writing to clarify the intent and use of the photographs, providing a clear record that can prevent future misunderstandings.

Balancing Rights: Property Management vs. Tenant Privacy

While landlords have the right to access and manage their property, this doesn’t supersede a tenant’s right to privacy. Ontario law mandates that landlords provide reasonable notice—typically 24 hours—before entering a property. This notice should specify the reason for entry, in this case, photography, allowing tenants adequate time to prepare the space to their comfort level. This approach respects the tenant’s privacy and ensures the landlord can manage their property effectively.

Practical Guidelines for Landlords

  1. Communicate Transparently: Always inform tenants well in advance if you need to take photographs of their rental unit. Explain why the photos are necessary, how they will be used, and discuss any concerns the tenant may have. This fosters a trusting landlord-tenant relationship.
  2. Obtain Written Consent: Before taking any photographs, obtain written consent from your tenant. This document should detail the purpose of the photos and where they might be used (e.g., online listings, promotional materials).
  3. Schedule Conveniently: Coordinate with your tenants to schedule photography at a time that is least disruptive for them. This consideration can make the process smoother and more agreeable for all parties involved.


Understanding and respecting tenant privacy rights is crucial for maintaining a positive relationship between landlords and tenants. By following legal protocols and treating tenants with respect, landlords can ensure their property management activities are both effective and lawful. For landlords seeking more detailed information or facing specific issues, consulting with a legal expert or reaching out to the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board is advisable.

Navigating these legalities with care not only protects landlords from potential legal challenges but also contributes to a respectful and professional management environment.

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