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The Privacy Myth

Category: Buying, Tenants

Ever wonder why a Real Estate Agent asks for your name and contact number at an Open for Inspection and what right they have to do it?

It has become commonplace for agents to request names and contact details - sometimes even proof of identity, prior to allowing buyers to inspect a property.

Firstly let me say, that it is not a legal requirement for people to leave their details with an agent at an open house, but it can be a condition of entry to the property.

This can be confusing to some buyers who claim that they have a right to enter, with anonymity, as it is a publically advertised open for inspection.

The fact is that the property is open for inspection, but the owner can make any conditions of entry that they see fit.  The agent is at the property as the owners' representative, and can allow or refuse entry as the vendor has instructed.  Tell me, would you let someone into your home if you didn't know who they were?

I have had many buyers say that “under the Privacy Act an agent cannot ask for personal details”, but the Privacy Act details how the information is collected, stored and used by the collecting agency - in this case the agent.  This information cannot be used other than for the purpose for which it was collected.  The agent is required to have a Privacy Act collection notice displayed, which will give you all the relevant information.  If you don't want to hear from the agent, just tell them that and they should not contact you, but be aware that they then will not contact you about the imminent sale of the property, or about others that may be of interest to you.

If you refuse to give the agent the requested details, it is within their rights to deny you entry to the home; after all it is actually private property.  If you refuse to leave, when requested to do so by the owner, or their agent, you commit the offence of trespass.

So you see that as the representative of the owner the real estate agent has the right to request your details as a condition of entry to a property and may refuse you entry if you fail to comply with those conditions.