Tampines resident upset flyer distributor took photo of her flat number: 'An intrusion of privacy'

Submitted by Stomper Karen

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The flyer was for a property agent.

A Tampines resident is upset that a man who placed a flyer outside her flat took a photo of her unit number.

Stomper Karen shared a video screengrab of the man in black T-shirt and shorts standing outside the gate with a backpack and using a phone to take the picture on May 12 at 8.25pm.

She said: "We have been receiving lots of flyers, sometimes slotted at the gate or messing up the floor as they may just want to get the work done quickly before moving to the next location."

But this was the first time the Stomper encountered a flyer distributor taking a photo.

"Does a property agent have the right to ask the flyer distributor to take an image of the unit to make sure the flyer distributor is doing his job?" asked the Stomper, who lives in Tampines GreenRidges at Tampines Avenue 9.

"Won't it be an intrusion of privacy and safety? And I already pasted a note on my main door that we do not have the intention to sell the unit."

In response to a Stomp query, the property agent said: "I don’t see how it is an intrusion of privacy to take the unit number. The owner is not in the picture at all.

"I understand they posted a notice, but I am not asking the owner to sell. My flyers are merely informing the owner of the past transactions in the area. There are no words on my flyers that say 'sell your unit'.

"If anything unclear, residents should take it to CEA (Council for Estate Agencies) as they have the guidelines that inform public on the do’s and don'ts."

The Stomper told Stomp: "Maybe he can guide everyone to which point in the CEA guidelines that state that the agent is able to instruct the flyer distributor to take an image on the units to proof that flyers are distributed."

The CEA guidelines do not address this particular topic.

According to CEA, the key points in the guidelines are:

  • Distribute flyers and pamphlets so that these are only visible to the intended recipient. Do not leave these items at the gates of people’s homes or on their vehicles. Not only is this unsightly, it can also lead to a littering issue.
  • Comply with existing laws and seek the necessary approvals if you are distributing flyers and pamphlets in private properties, for example, in condominiums.
  • Ensure that the third parties you engage to distribute the flyers and pamphlets are aware of and comply with these guidelines. Do provide proper instructions and brief them well.

The Stomper said she has contacted CEA but was told to give feedback directly to the agent's company.

Stomp has contacted CEA for more info.

The Stomper has since contacted the property agent and shared with Stomp the screenshots of her WhatsApp chat with him.

In one message, the agent explained that the flyer distributor took the photos to send to the agent to prove that the flyer distributor did his job.

The Stomper said: "According to him, the images were deleted after confirming the work was done. How can one be so sure that the images have been deleted by both the agent and the distributor?"

She told Stomp she has nothing against flyers per se.

"I mean, there's no harm in distribution of flyers but do not take images of the units. Just like the agent has no trust with the distributor, the house owner also finds it worrying when a stranger is taking an image of your unit," said the Stomper.

"By bringing this to light is not to prevent anyone from making an earning, but just to be sure of what has been done is correct and legal."