"Does the Constitution Apply to Renters?"
Rental inspections are even less justified in Richardson, Tex. The town’s city council passed a rental inspection ordinance in November 2011 that requires an inspection to be done within 30 days of a new tenant moving in. According to the Dallas Morning News, “In 2012, the city inspected 644 properties, and only one failed.” In other words, that’s a pass rate of 99.8%. Clearly, rental inspections are completely unnecessary in Richardson.
Like in Red Wing, Richardson landlords and tenants are joining together to reform or repeal the rental ordinance. In the words of one renter, “The heavy-handedness of a local government having this kind of power and response is unconscionable.”
Garland, Tex. mandated rental inspections in order to be licensed. Anyone who rented property without a license or refused rental inspections would face up to $2000 in fines, per day. But in 2008, a U.S. Court of Appeals struck down part of Garland’s rental inspection ordinance as unconstitutional:
“The court fully understands that the City has a valid and important governmental interest in protecting the public, however, the court sees no reason why this should be done at the expense of infringing on rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
In response, Garland amended its ordinance. Renters and landlords in Richardson are hoping their city will follow suit.