Many Cities Don’t Think Renters Have Fourth Amendment Rights


US constitutionEarlier this week we posted about a California city performing warrantless searches under the guise of  rental inspections, now Forbes is reporting that the Institute for Justice is also raising the alarm about the Fourth Amendment rights of renters.  The article points out, due in part to a nearly 50-year old Supreme Court decision, cities and towns across America are literally snooping on renters without having to obtain warrants.  This is a dangerous slippery-slope that needs to be monitored and properly addressed.  Groups such as the Institute for Justice and the Pacific Legal Foundation are taking up the fight.

“Not far from Minneapolis, the couple owns a rental property in Golden Valley, Minn. Last year, the Wiebesicks applied to renew their annual rental license. But in order to keep their license, Golden Valley demanded to inspect their property, without a warrant, without their consent and without any suspicion of wrongdoing or code violations.”

“Under the city’s ordinance, tenants must allow government officials to access “any part” of their homes during a rental inspection. Golden Valley takes “any part” very literally. Giving new meaning to the term “nanny state,” inspectors can search a home’s washer, dryer, dishwasher and fridge and even check on “sanitary conditions” in the kitchen and bathroom.”

Click here to read “Do Renters Have Fourth Amendment Rights? Many Cities Don’t Think So,” on

Click here to read more at the Institute for Justice.

Click here to read the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.


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Director of Education & Outreach, National Real Estate Investors Association

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