SCR has heard some startling reports of residential surveillance issues.
Educate your buyers to behave in listings and avoid verbal communication in the listing. Use a notepad or texting while in the listing.
Educate your sellers to get legal counsel about using microphones and avoid using cameras in areas where visitors have an expectation of privacy (e.g. bathroom). Potential criminal issues can attach to microphones and cameras if not utilized legally/correctly.
Disclosure is one solution. MLS and signage disclosure can have a deterrent effect on bad behavior at listings.
Sellers have low-cost access to miniature cameras and microphones that most people would never notice, so always assume surveillance even if the seller does not disclose.
In 2017, the transaction brokerage listing agreement and buyer rep agreement addressed surveillance and photography. In 2020, the agency forms for listing and buyer agency will incorporate similar language on surveillance and photography.
Always get photography rights from associated licensees and photographers as well.
Avoid using other people’s photographs (e.g. Google images, photographer’s work) without written authorization because that can get you sued.
There are many paid websites that you can use for stock photography use authorization.
Get written photography rights from photographers, videographers, drone photographers, associated licensees.
There are photography lawsuit scams, so call the SCR legal hotline if you receive a demand.
Photographers have online bots that can detect unauthorized photograph use.
When using CGI, always disclose the photograph has been edited. Use watermark disclosure. Use side by side photographs of real image and the computer edited image. SCR receives reports of many buyers and tenants who contract for real estate without ever seeing the property in person. So, misleading CGI images can create lawsuits and ethics complaints and license law complaints and business complaints if you do not build yourself a defense with disclosure and side by side images (e.g. real images, computer enhanced images).
Posted by: Byron King on 10/31/19 (This information is only accurate as of 10/31/19. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 10/31/19 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at screaltors.org)