Renters as Second Class Citizens

by Conor Friedersdorf

Ryan writes about something I'd never heard about: rental safety inspections.

In the last two towns where I have lived (Burlington, VT and State College, PA) both had local laws requiring that rental units had to be inspected at regular intervals. In other words, once a year (or so) renters are legally required to allow a government employee to conduct a search for illegal [supposedly just safety-related] activity.  If they catch a violation either the resident or landlord can be fined depending on who's at fault.  In Burlington if you refuse them they will just come back with a warrant regardless of probable cause.  In State College there is just a flat fine for not having had it done.  I don't think you could invent a more straightforward violation of our 4th amendment rights than to get searched at regular intervals, without probable cause, to
make sure that no one is acting illegally. I seem to be completely alone in actually caring.  Am I missing something?

You're not alone anymore. This is outrageous. And the law would never stand if they tried to apply it to homeowners.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In