A renter was allegedly spied upon by their landlord after cameras were installed in their living room. The landlord had insisted they were put in to keep tabs on how well their property was being cleaned, but the renter claimed the landlord admitted to watching them for weeks.
The tenant, who lives in Victoria, Australia, said they found the cameras in a corner of the lounge.
When she was confronted, the landlord told the tenant they had been set up for security reasons and allowed her to see her property was being looked after properly.
The move came in the wake of a row with tenants who were charged an extra £32 per month for a professional cleaner, according to MailOnline.
One of the tenants took to the private Facebook group Don’t Rent Me to express how “uncomfortable” they felt.
They claimed: “She’s using them to literally spy on our activities in the house.
“She said she’s been watching me walk around the house for the last three weeks and asked if I still had a job because she didn’t want people like that living in her house.
“It’s none of her business if I have a job. I pay to live here not be spied on. I was on holiday but she doesn’t need to know that.
“She’s even asked me what am I hiding under my Oodie [an oversized wearable blanket] to take to the bathroom.”
Fellow social media users condemned the landlord’s move with one commenting: “That is insane. Cover them up. Cover the mic on them too chances are she can listen.”
Dr Vanessa Johnston, a senior lecturer at RMIT in Melbourne, said the Victoria case appears to be a breach of Australian residential tenancy laws.
She said Yahoo! News: “I’m not a privacy expert, but in terms of property law, someone using a camera in that situation would be something called a breach of quiet enjoyment.
“So in every lease, including in standard residential leases, the landlord has an obligation to provide quiet enjoyment.”
However, the media outlet also reported that the property in question is a registered rooming house and not a shared house.
In Australia, a rooming house is a property where four or more people can occupy rented rooms with each tenant having their own residential agreement.
Cameras in communal areas are allowed in a rooming house. Anna-Kate Pizzini, director of Electrum Property – which runs the property – told Yahoo! News this is quite a common practice for hygiene reasons and the safety of tenants. She said: “The tenants were emailed to explain why these were to be installed and signs are up in the common areas reminding them of this.
“As far as weekly cleaning charges, this is covered in the House Rules that each tenant must comply with when they start renting with us. The house was getting extremely unhygienic and we have a duty of care to everyone to keep it in a good condition so that nobody gets sick.”