Your Mandatory Rental Inspection Code is Unconstitutional
Last month, the United States District Court in Cincinnati held the Portsmouth Rental Dwelling Code (RDC) violated the Fourth Amendment insofar as it authorized warrantless administrative inspections. Facing an aging, dilapidated housing stock that was turning into rental properties, the City created the RDC and made landlords apply for a rental dwelling permit. The RDC also authorized the Code Enforcement Officer to make an inspection in response to a complaint or if the Official had a valid reason to believe that a violation of the Code existed. Citing several cases from around the County, the Court concluded the RDC was unconstitutional because it mandated warrantless coerced inspections of the interior of private homes without probable cause. According to the Court, “the owners and/or tenants of rental properties in Portsmouth are thus faced with the choice of consenting to the warrantless inspection or facing criminal charges, as result the Supreme Court has expressly disavowed under the Fourth Amendment.” See James Ronald Baker v. City of Portsmouth, Case No. 1:14cv512.