As virtual tours grow in popularity and in some cases become the norm for the majority of brokers, the question arises whether your virtual tours are GDPR and CPR compliant?
First, what is a virtual tour?
The purpose of a virtual property tour is to show the property to a prospective buyer or tenant virtually, ie by means of a live video stream (which can also be recorded). This is usually done using a smartphone or tablet through an application that enables video calling, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or WhatsApp (other applications available). More complex video productions (3D cameras) are also available, but not as widespread. In the future, virtual reality tours could even take place in agents’ offices or online.
From a GDPR perspective, the amount of personal / sensitive data that can be accidentally captured in a home can be surprising, from personal photos of family members on the wall to letters on refrigerators and countertops.
In addition, the consumer protection regulation means that virtual tours must not be misleading. For example, on some virtual tours it can be misleading to include small furniture in a room and give the false impression that a room is much larger than it actually is. When creating virtual tours, it is important to sell a property via the virtual tour, but also to be honest and transparent and to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
So what compliance do brokers have to adhere to? Well, we enlisted the help of JMW Solicitors, a full service law firm that provides legal services and advice to both businesses and individuals. We put our heads together and created this handy customizable Word document that covers everything you need to know about virtual tours and GDPR and CPR compliance.
The guide covers a variety of things, such as:
- Virtual property tours.
- Data protection.
- Consumer protection regulations.
- The guide for the real estate ombudsman.
- The Information Commissioner’s Office.
- Frequently asked Questions.
- Pre-inspection checklist.
- Checklist after the visit.
You can download a free copy of the guide here.
It is important that brokers adhere to best practices and hopefully this guide will put you on the right track to ensure that the virtual tours you create for your property are not only the best on the market but compliant too and are fair.
* Mitch Handley is the Marketing Director of Inventory Hive