Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Mayor's inspection plan: what about the Fourth Amendment?
gvw_david_taub
By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 7 years ago on
December 8, 2016

Share

The city council is scheduled to hear the Mayor’ Ashley Swearengin mandatory apartment inspection plan on Thursday. The plan would allow the city to randomly inspect apartment complexes, once every three years.

But what happens if a renter wants to keep their home private, free of government intrusion?

There could be a million reasons why a renter wants to keep the snooping eyes of a city inspector out. Maybe their home is messy. Maybe there are embarrassing things they don’t want seen. Maybe there are illegal activities happening. Maybe there is no reason at all.

Normally, for a government actor (whether it be an inspector, police or the Mayor herself) to force entry into a home, they need a warrant- permission from a judge to make such an intrusion.

As currently written, the ordinance requires the tenant to open his or her door to their landlord and the inspector. There are consequences if the tenant refuses. The pertinent section reads:

SECTION 10-1606. NOTIFICATION OF INSPECTION AND PROCEDURES. (d) If an Owner or tenant in possession of the Property refuses to allow access to conduct the inspection, the City Attorney may use all legal remedies permitted by law, provided reasonable cause exists to believe a violation of the Municipal Code or state law exists on the Property. Inspections for the purpose of this article are a “necessary service” for which entry by the Owner, upon proper notice, is allowed per Civil Code 1954.

Civil Code 1954 spells out what circumstances a landlord can enter a tenant’s apartment. Generally, it falls under four situations:

  • An Emergency
  • Agreed upon repairs or showing apartment to prospective renters
  • Apartment abandoned
  • Court order

The code also calls for reasonable notice prior to an inspection. In the proposed city ordinance, it spells it out as 14 days.

The section that the inspection code refers to, “necessary service,” could ultimately be up to a judge to determine if that is enough for the city to enter a private residence.

The hold up is the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, that deals with search and seizures. It states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

GV Wire asked noted Fresno attorney Charles Magill how the Fourth would play into inspections. “You can’t be subject to unreasonable governmental searches and seizures without authorization.”

In his experience, he questions whether a judge would grant a warrant for the Mayor’s cause. “Not if it’s a random inspection. Unless they can articulate a basis and belief that they are going to find violations in that area.”

Magill cited last year’s Summerset Village Apartments crisis as a possible reason a judge may grant a warrant for an inspection.

The question is, whether the city would be willing to spend the time and resources to obtain a warrant. Magill says the city would be better served just to move on to the next unit.

 

DON'T MISS

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

DON'T MISS

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

DON'T MISS

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

DON'T MISS

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

DON'T MISS

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

DON'T MISS

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

DON'T MISS

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

DON'T MISS

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

DON'T MISS

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

DON'T MISS

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

UP NEXT

From Tragedy to Triumph: The Land Before Time Litter’s Journey

UP NEXT

Fresno Monopoly is Coming. You Have a Chance to Make It Your Own.

UP NEXT

After Fong Ruling, a ‘Bitter Pill to Swallow’ for US Senate Losers Katie Porter & Barbara Lee?

UP NEXT

Fresno’s ‘Rods on the Bluff’ Is Driven by Friendship, Creativity, and Achievement

UP NEXT

This Chill Tabby Cat Loves Hanging Out With People. Is He Your ‘Purrfect’ Match?

UP NEXT

Legendary Comedians Seinfeld and Carolla Lead Fresno Entertainment Lineup

UP NEXT

Fresno’s Marjaree Mason Center Secures $850K Federal Funding Boost for New Resource Center

UP NEXT

Pistachio Growers Banking on World Famous Chef to Grow Their Markets

UP NEXT

Fast Food Wage Hike Impacts Fresno Restaurateurs of All Menu Types and Sizes

UP NEXT

Appeal Court Rules Fong Can Stay on CA-20 Congressional Ballot

David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

16 hours ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

16 hours ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

1 day ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

1 day ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

1 day ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

1 day ago

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

1 day ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

1 day ago

Israeli Settlers Rampage Through a West Bank Village, Killing 1 Palestinian and Wounding 25

1 day ago

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

1 day ago

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and his national security team monitored Iran’s aerial attack against Israel on Saturday as U.S. forces joi...

57 mins ago

57 mins ago

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

14 hours ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

15 hours ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

16 hours ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

16 hours ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

1 day ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

1 day ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

1 day ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend