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redinsmb

How long can a landlord use photos of my possessions in a listing?

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I happened across a listing for an apartment my family lived in 4 years ago and clicked it because I was interested in knowing what the price increase was for that neighborhood.  I was shocked to see the pictures in the listing were of my family's belongings and it just sort of grates on my nerves that this landlord, who we did not part amicably with, is using photos of the unit from when we lived in it so many years after we left.

 

I'm not really interested in suing her or anything like that, but I'm curious - is there an amount of time that she is allowed to use those photos or will she be able to show them on her listing forever?  I feel like my family's privacy has been violated and I'd much prefer not to have photos of my young son's bedroom immortalized on the internet.

 

Thanks in advance, I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but I'm a private person and knowing photos of my family's bedrooms and possessions are circulating the internet bothers me, even if they can't really be tracked back to me.

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We didn't part amicably and she is, quite honestly, crazy.  It's a long story, but trust me when I say that communication with her is a bad idea.  Once she saw me walking down the sidewalk near the building (my son had friends in the neighborhood and we were on our way home from a playdate with them - she didn't live in the building so I didn't expect to run into her) she actually stood in the middle of the sidewalk staring at our backs and then began yelling something at me in Thai.  

 

I'm just curious if there's a limit to the amount of time she can use those photos, if there is (in Chicago, IL) I'd like to just send her a note politely asking her to remove them and not to use them in the future.  However, if she has full legal right to use them for as long as she wants something like that would probably just make her seek revenge and I can't imagine what horrible things she'd do because, as I said, she's just not right in the head.

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I'm not really interested in suing her or anything like that, but I'm curious - is there an amount of time that she is allowed to use those photos or will she be able to show them on her listing forever?  I feel like my family's privacy has been violated and I'd much prefer not to have photos of my young son's bedroom immortalized on the internet.

 

First of all, how did the landlord obtain photos of the apartment while you were still living there?  Did you take the photos or did the landlord (or an agent or employee of the landlord) take them?  If the latter, did you authorize the landlord (or landlord's agent/employee) to enter the apartment for the purposes of taking the photos?  If so, was the authorization made in writing, and did it include any sort of limitation on the landlord's right to use the photos.  Assuming you did not take the photos and did not authorize the taking of the photos in a written document that included an express limitation on the landlord's right to use them, then the landlord may use them in perpetuity.  As far as your "family's privacy . . . be[ing] violated," family's do not have any privacy rights.  Only individuals have privacy rights, and it is extremely rare for an individual to have a privacy interest in his/her possessions.  And, even if you did have a privacy interest in your possessions depicted in the photographs, you authorized the taking of the photos without placing any limitation on the landlord's right to use them.  Hence, you implicitly consented to what the landlord is doing.  Moreover, it is extremely likely that it is impossible for anyone outside your family to identify the items in the photos as belonging or having once belonged to you.  If the facts are not as I assume them to be, please advise because my answer likely will change.

 

 

 

Sorry, but there is no limit on how long she can use the photos.

 

Besides, you have suffered absolutely no "legal" harm, so you have no case.

 

As noted above, the first sentence of this response is probably correct, but we cannot know for sure.  As for the second sentence, if, for example, the poster had taken the photos -- and, consequently, owns the copyrights -- there would be no need to prove "'legal' harm" beyond the unauthorized use of the photos.

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