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Is this legal? Advice needed...

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posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 05:18 PM
Hi all - Im normally a lurker here, so I hope this is in the correct board, if not, feel free to move it as needed.

I got a letter in our mailbox this afternoon that on November 18th, our boro leaders will be coming into all homes within our TINY town for an "annual inspection". We live in a townhouse and we were informed in the same letter that our landlord (this is a rental property) would be in prior to this "inspection". Now mind you, this inspection with our borough leaders is on a work day (hard to take off for most folks in our town - blue collar jobs!) and in the letter it said "As you may be aware, (my town) has passed an ordinance requiring an annual inspection of all residences."

So...granted this could just be to check wiring, smoke detectors, etc...and I wont be able to call anyone now until Monday to find out WHY they are coming...but, is this even legal?

They are going to enter people's homes EVEN IF THEY AREN'T HOME!!! Residents are being REQUIRED to leave their doors unlocked on the 18th. Our note said that our landLORD will be going in our homes with the borough leaders - well thank God for that lol!

Any feedback on this?? Do I have a right to say no or ask questions or for proof of this said ordinance (which, by the way, was NOT distributed to ANY member of our town OTHER than our "leaders")...

Thanks for the feedback!!!

- Allison

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 05:20 PM
reply to post by LongingForGrace

can you scan the letter? or at least type what it says??

and what state are you from?

also, i lived in an apartment in Phoenix, AZ and they'd have these yearly "inspections"... i was rarely home for mine, too, but everything checked out, aside from a little worry during the day..

[edit on 31-10-2008 by adrenochrome]

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 05:23 PM
sounds like somebody wants you to go out and leave your doors unlocked so they can rob you, lol.

is the 'boro' your local council or something? either way it doesn't sound legit to me. don't stress. just wait to monday to call and find out.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 05:25 PM
reply to post by LongingForGrace

Seems pretty strange. Landlords are normally allowed some access which makes sense since it is, after all, their property. But for third parties do have free access seems rotten. The requirement to leave your home unlocked is absurd.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 05:31 PM
There are cities that have laws to prove to city inspectors that landlords aren't slum lords and rental property meets minimum housing requirements.

There have been tremendous problems with slum lords in some areas of the country and "deficient" property from a variety of reason.

Only real requirement is proper notice of up coming inspection, which you have, and should also have time frame for date and approximate hours of day along with time estimate of length of inspection.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 05:37 PM
Here in Vancouver BC a new bylaw was passed( a year or so ago) that mandates a Landlord to conduct annual property inspections including all tenant suites. it's a City Bylaw and is put forth by the insurance corporations, fire departments, police and Hydro Electric plus a few other Civic and Provincial entities. Basically they only need to provide written notice a minimum 7 days prior (or some such thing) and the landlord themselves must be the one to conduct the premise inspections OR be present if a thrid party is to conduct the inspections.

it's supposedly a good thing??? To ensure that apartments/condos/CoOps etc etc are maintained, clean and safe.

It's a pain but what can you do? It's a city ordinate and is mandated and approved by the Civic council and backed by the province. Can't recall exactly when it came into effect here but I know it was less than 2 years ago.

It's a separate inspection from the annual Fire Alarm inspection.

I would contact your City/Township Hall and inquire as to the legality.

I'm pretty certain that most landlords can, with written notice gain access to "their" property to assess damages, safety, cleanliness blah blah blah.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 05:39 PM
Of course it is legal if your landlord says it is and especially if an ordinance was passed to allow it.

This isn't the place to ask for legal advice.

Was there a public hearing on the ordinance proposal, where were you?


posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 05:46 PM
Since you still have a couple of weeks before this happens, take every precaution in finding out the legallity and truth of this inspection.
If this is just the city making sure that landlords are not slum-lording, or a safety inspection (fire, electrical, hazard), then there really shouldnt be a problem.

Also, inquire about the leaving of the unlocked doors. If everyone in the neighborhood in getting this letter, then everyone is going to know that everyone has an open door. It seems that the landlord does not maintain a spare key to all properties, so I would try to work out a deal with him to offer him a spare key to the front door on the terms that he lock up behind himself and return the key the next day. Regardless, I would make sure that they plan to lock the door behind them.

Worst case, try to take some time off work that day. Perhaps this will happen in the morning and you can get a half day off or rescheduled hours to be at home. Explain what is going on to your boss and he may work with you (or perhaps I just work for a forgiving company that is willing to work this way some times). It never hurts to ask, especially 18 days in advance.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 06:28 PM
First of all, I am no lawyer and therefore am not qualified to give professional legal advice. So anything in this post is opinion only. For good advice, I suggest you contact an attorney.

That said, my take on it is that landlords generally are permitted access to the property. There are, however, restrictions to that access to protect the tenant. My experience is that all access must be 'reasonable' in the eyes of the law.

The landlord may be required to be present at the inspection, as this may be a requirement on the landlord rather than the tenant. That makes sense given that nothing about this was mentioned to anyone other than landlords.

My concern (and no doubt yours) is that this is a major security breach. I do not think you are required (or can be required) to leave your home unlocked for another party, even if that third party is a community leader (or landlord!). The law generally recognizes your right to reasonable privacy and security, and this sounds like your landlord is attempting to violate that privacy and security in order to further his convenience.

I'd talk to a lawyer if it were me. Or at least to the inspectors.


posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 06:32 PM
Have you called or contacted your landlord to confirm this?

*first question that came to mind*

If not, then please do...

Certainly, if it's legit, they would have received similar correspondence or Notice.


[edit: to add]

Especially given that it supposedly originates from a higher level - boro leaders.

[edit on 31-10-2008 by 12m8keall2c]

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 07:06 PM
But if the landlord is going to be with these 'inspectors', surely they would have keys for access?

There is no way I'd be leaving my place unlocked, for anyone, and I think it's absolutely ridiculous for anyone to request you to do that.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 07:10 PM
A few years ago a neighbors daughter had such an inspection.My neighbor was the mother and was there to meet them since her daughter was unable to take the time away from work.I was just appalled that it was happening! The crazy thing that I will not forget was she told me they tested the water temp. in the toilet tank! Since I learned of the inspection I have observed that the inside of these rentals might have be kept up, but the buildings structural integrety is in dire disrepair! I have seen 2nd floor balconies (sp)? that I wouldn't dare step foot on! Most of the people who are renting these units are reciving state aide for reduced rental rates.I do not think I need to fill in the blanks here as to what this is really all about.

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 07:51 PM
As some posters have mentioned, please check with your landlord first in order to be sure if that paper you got is legit.
To me it also seems outrageous that you have to let some unknown people in your own home, and even more that if you are not home , they can enter and do as they wish.

What exactly are they looking for?
the fire alarms? the temperature of the toilet water?

But as has also been mentioned, it comes as no surprise, after all it is their property, I'd try to do my best to be present at the time of the inspection...

good luck!

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