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Hi I work for a property management company and we'd like to use images of the properties which we manage within our portfolio on our website and social media/marketing materials. They are just images of the building/block of flats or estate as a whole. Do we need to get permission from the owners to use these images?

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    This seems more a law question (see law.stackexchange.com) rather than photography question, but yes, you need permission, not from the property owners, but from the copyright owner, which is who took the photograph (unless the copyright was transferred by agreement to e.g. the property owners). If you don't have the permission, your only option is to take yourself a similar picture of the property. Also, it would be nice to have permission from property owners as well, or else you may find your business go away. – juhist Mar 19 '19 at 15:43
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This comes under "legal" not photography - the opinions of random internet strangers are just that - opinions with no legal backing.

However...
Generally, around the world [you didn't say where you are] if you are taking pictures of a private property from a publicly accessible location - ie, from the street - you need no permission.
There are exceptions to this - airports, military bases etc etc. but generally if you take a picture from the street you can get away with it.
Note 'get away with it'; it's been known for people to actually test this in court, with no single conclusive result. Google Streets has photos of almost every property in the world... but not all.

If you take a picture from on the property itself, you do need permission.

As you are presumably in the business of selling/managing these properties for their current owners, would it not be simpler to include that permission in your standard contract they have to sign before you take on their business?
For the actual contract wording, you would have to consult your lawyer.
Caveat: If the properties are rentals, then different rules again will apply to indoor shots.

Late note: as mentioned in comments - title to the photograph itself rests with the photographer, not the property owner. Their permission is a completely separate entity - again, see a lawyer.

  • Thank you for your comments, I will look into this further as advised. – Helen Mar 19 '19 at 16:27
  • I'm pretty sure that the usage indicated is considered 'commercial' and therefore would actually required a property release, in many (most?) jurisdictions. – Robin Mar 19 '19 at 17:47
  • @Robin - again, that would probably depend on jurisdiction... & "IANAL", I've never even played one on TV. – Tetsujin Mar 19 '19 at 17:55
  • "Commercial" usage in this context generally only applies to likenesses of individuals represented as endorsing a product or service. It would be a real stretch to extend that to a photo of a property unless the property were so well known as to imply endorsement from those associated with it. For example, a photo of the entrance to the mansion used to film "The Beverly Hillbillies" might imply some sort of endorsement from "Jed Clampett", Buddy Ebsen's estate (the actor who portrayed Jed), or the owners of the intellectual property covering the "Beverly Hillbillies". – Michael C Mar 19 '19 at 21:23
  • That's not correct in the US and UK, Michael. If you are shooting on private property, you need a property release for commercial usage of the image. I've been licensing stock images for over 15 years. Alamy has some good "plain english" articles on the topic: alamy.com/blog/… and alamy.com/contributor/how-to-sell-images/… – the_limey Mar 20 '19 at 22:00

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