In Kansas (yes, Toto, we’re talking about Kansas, not Lakewood, Washington – for now), cities like those in Lawrence, Mission, Topeka, Kansas City (where rental inspection programs have been in place for 20 years) – any city anywhere in Kansas – cannot, by recently enacted law in that state, anymore “require periodic interior inspections unless the owner or occupant consents.”
They should have dubbed it ‘Dorothy’s Law’.
Despite the protests of rental inspection proponents that “public health and safety needs of the community” were imperiled by the proposed law; irrespective of how much work, time and expense cities had invested over many years; though some legislators claimed rental inspections were “the only way” – the only way – “to get a handle on some of the unscrupulous absentee landlords”, the majority of lawmakers in the Kansas Statehouse ruled that “protection of the Fourth Amendment rights of property owners and tenants to be free from unwarranted searches by government officials,” trumped all other considerations.
“Consent of a rental unit’s occupant before an interior inspection is conducted,” is now the law of the land.
A parallel advisory legal opinion by Florida’s Attorney General reached the same conclusion.
“A municipal code inspector is without authority to enter onto any private, commercial or residential property to assure compliance with or to enforce the various technical codes of the municipality or to conduct any administrative inspections or searches without the consent of the owner or the operator or occupant of such premises or without a duly issued search or administrative inspection warrant.”
It is unknown, at this time, whether the apartment Dorothy (“Wizard of Oz”) went to live eventually in the Emerald City’s palace is also exempt from the prying eyes of city inspectors, but all of Kansas is.
For those not living in Kansas, suggest make plans to be off to see the wizard, lawmaker, whomever for whom the Fourth Amendment matters.