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‘Let Us Inspect Your Home For Dirty Dishes – Or We’ll Get A Warrant,’ City Says

'Let Us Inspect Your Home For Dirty Dishes – Or We’ll Get A Warrant,' City Says

The Wiebesicks. Image source: Institute for Justice

A Minnesota city is asking a court for a warrant to enter a rental home in order to check to see if the place is clean. If the city wins the case, then inspectors apparently would be able to enter such a building anytime they wish.

The renters and tenants say they have nothing to hide but are opposing the city’s move based on principle. If they want to leave dirty dishes in the sink, they say, they it should be perfectly legal.

“Your home is your castle—irrespective of whether you rent it or own it,” said Anthony Sanders, an attorney for Institute for Justice, which is representing the renters and tenants. “What we do in our home is our business, not the government’s. The mere fact that someone rents a home, rather than owns it, should not give the government the right to disrupt their life, invade their privacy and search every nook and cranny of their home—all without providing a shred of evidence that anything is wrong. It is a fundamental violation of the Minnesota Constitution’s protection against illegal searches.”

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Sanders is representing the renters as well as Jackie and Jason Wiebesick, the owners of the rental unit in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

The city of Golden Valley is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to grant the warrant even though there have been no allegations that ordinances have been violated. Instead, the city wants to see if the tenants are following minimal standards that include keeping the kitchen and toilet clean, the Institute said.

City Not Backing Down

Let Us Inspect Your Home For Dirty Dishes – Of We’ll Get A WarrantThe city tried to do an end-run around the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures by asking Hennepin County Judge Susan Robiner for an administrative warrant to search the duplex; the warrant was requested without the knowledge of the Wiebesicks. The city argued that no evidence of wrongdoing is required for the issuance of an administrative warrant.

Robiner turned down the warrant application, ruling that the city’s request violated the Fourth Amendment. The city appealed Robiner’s ruling to the court of appeals.

“Both the United States Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution provide that persons shall be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and impose a warrant requirement supported by probable cause,” Robiner wrote. “The privacy interest in one’s home is well-recognized as of greatest constitutional significance.”

The city had sought the administrative warrant after the Wiebesicks and their tenants refused to let an inspector into the duplex.

“What’s at stake is a simple matter of making sure we have safe housing that meets minimal standards,” Golden Valley Fire Chief John Crelly told CBS Local Minnesota. “In general, there are no unannounced inspections.”

But the Wiebesicks see it quite differently.

“Tenants should enjoy the same level of privacy in their homes as homeowners,” said Jason Wiebesick. “We’ve done nothing wrong and we have nothing to hide. The city of Golden Valley shouldn’t be allowed to force its way into innocent people’s homes.”

Said Institute for Justice attorney Meagan Forbes, “Golden Valley is doing what countless cities do: forcing their way into people’s homes without any suspicion they’ve done anything wrong. This has to stop.”

The ordinance in Golden Valley allows city inspectors to enter rental units to check on things like the cleanliness of kitchens and bathrooms. At least four other cities in Minnesota have similar ordinances.

The League of Minnesota Cities, an organization of municipal governments, has filed an amicus brief in support of Golden Valley’s petition request, CBS Local Minnesota reported.

Should cities have the power to inspect homes for cleanliness? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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  1. MN is growing more disturbing with every year that passes. Who do these people think they are and what sicko decided they had the right to do this? What are some names and addresses and phone numbers? Besides being blatantly unconstitutional, where are these pathetic officials getting the money for these things? Seems like this town needs to cut the city budget by quite a bit, if this is any indication of what they consider an acceptable way to spend money.

  2. Please come in, but watch out for the huge fire in the living room.
    Bye now

  3. I don’t understand. Is there some pestilence that is being caused by “dirty” bathrooms and kitchens? If so, perhaps such inspections are justified for ALL residences.

    Is there some new law requiring landlords to regularly clean the bathrooms and dirty dishes of rentors? Then it is the landlord who is being inspected, and the rentors should be happy about enforcement actions.

    Are too many rentors failing to pay the appropriate “protection money” to the “inspectors?” Then the “inspectors” should be jailed for life.

    What IS this?

  4. Fascism has come to America with the road paved by liberal nanny state authoritarians who violate our rights to “protect us” from our own actions. GTFO you freaking tyrannical nut jobs!

    • This is certainly not liberal behavior. This is ultra conservative, neo-religious, fascist wing nuts.
      The Liberal philosophy is just clean it up when it’s over.

      • Everybody with any sense knows that Progressive Liberal Democrats are actually Communists, prepare to defend your selves ” The Red Menace back ” Where is Joe McCarthy when you need him.

      • “The Liberal philosophy is just clean it up when it’s over.”You are kidding, I hope. Liberals are like the Borg (
        No dissension allowed with the ranks or you are vilified. Some people need to read up on their terminologies.
        Just sayin’

      • No, this is liberal behavior. Read up on what a Liberal is…more government, more intrusion, controlling the masses. Conservatives are about the rights of the individual. The behavior you mentioned is Libertarian…’clean it up when it’s over’.

      • @Mary95, I almost didnt post because for a minuet I thought you were either RETARDED or SLOW

      • It is hard to say whether this is conservative or liberal “behavior”. Neither behave this way in normal conditions, IMHO. It’s more something like some disturbed miind somewhere got into power, some little dictator without any notion of human dignity and human rights.

    • Agreed, and to make sure everyone else cleans to your liking

  5. Tannaberton Abacrombie

    So half a dozen cities will use this to stop people from having a few pot plants or just to take a look at the bedroom…this sounds like your constitution had finally been flushed from the bathroom of your heart and you are no better than any poor fool during the dark ages. What they plan is break and enter in the real world. Just because you rent you are less human? What about dirty homes with a mortgage? Ask yourselves, what are they really up to doing here.

  6. William Rothschild

    They should also have to change any dirty diapers they find, wash any dirty dishes they find, and clean u anything else they find to be objectionable, to ensure it’s done correctly. Then the renters can trash the place and leave with no forwarding address!!

  7. I think the tenants should get a warrant to search the city officials for their dirty dishes.!

  8. Lots of little towns love to do this crap. I was living in Winooski Vermont and learned the Landlord had walked the inspectors through my apt. They were upset I put plastic over the windows to preserve heat. After coming home more than once to a cigarette sitting on the stove, and leaving for work in the morning and having the cops sitting there watching me, and then coming home to piles of nut shells on my porch under the door – letting me know they could get in the apt if they wanted – I moved.

    • I think you could have sued them all for breaking and entering. That is the biggest, stupidest mistake a landlord can make. They cannot enter without giving you notice. If less than a year has passed, you can still sue them.

    • I let my last landlord know when I moved in that I had an excellent video and audio surveillance system that uploaded directly to the cloud. I also left a gun cleaning kit on the stove where he could see it. Never saw the man. :)

      Couple of years ago we had some Census agents show up and ask a bunch of nosy questions and demand to come into our house. I ran them all off. The last one tried to be the bad cop and say “This is required by law!”

      I told her the Justice Department was welcome to come arrest my ass, but I still wasn’t answering her questions. An inspector would get met with the same attitude.

  9. what about clean underwear

    what good does it do to make sure the sink and toilet are clean if you are allowed to wear dirty underwear ?

    the city has the right to sniff our butts and look down our troursers

    its for your own good

  10. How Ya Like Them Apples

    Before I allow you inside, you’ll need to provide me two copies of your work issued badge, work issued ID and your state issued driver license, that should all fit on an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper – oh and I’ll need your supervisors as well.

  11. How low of an IQ must you have to not know that this is wrong?

  12. This shouldn’t be a difficult case to win – & should be worth some “$”! G’ment officials HAVE NO RIGHTS – they have only limited authority & when they violate that authority they have exceeded their legal bounds & are acting on their own, and have no protection whatsoever! Any community which violates the rights of anyone have also violated the charter which created them, which voids such charter and they are no longer chartered, but are acting under ‘color of law’ and individuals involved are or may be personally found personally liable for any & all of their actions.

  13. It isn’t liberal or conservative. It is world government.

  14. Pretty funny comments from all of you. Thanks. Pretty ridiculous but I can understand it in Minnesota. On my way from Lincoln Nebraska to Minn-St. Paul for a Dead concert I noticed the usual “trash” in the ditches and ravines in Neb. and Iowa but when we hit the Minnesota border it was CLEAN. No trash. So you are dealing with clean freaks (nice to see the countryside clean though). It isn’t liberal or conservative in my opinion they just want to keep their state clean. BUT this is going too far. If there is jail time for dirty apartments I would send my daughter there to live and go to school so she might learn how to keep her room clean! LOL

  15. This is common in government run housing. They come in and do inspections twice a year to make sure the place is being kept up and they will write you up and threaten to evict you even if you only have a few dirty dishes in the sink. They have complained about cobwebs. It is insane. I totally understand that the government wants their housing cared for, but if there is a cup and spoon in the sink, is this really harming the facility? Will it not be cleaned later? How does it harm the facility? Craziness.

  16. Doesn’t MN have a sizeable Muslim population? I wonder how many of THEIR domiciles are being entered this way and searched? I’ll wager than none of them are. Perhaps it pays to look for a money trail. It costs money to do inspections surprise or otherwise. Hopefully the courts will see the error of their ways and throw in the towel, but I doubt it.

  17. This has Obamacare written all over it imo.

  18. Globalist slowly taking over better start waking up sheep. When they make it a cashless society enjoy the chip implant so they can control and track you.

    No this is not a conspiracy its is happening now. They are slowly condition the sheep for this and this is how it’s done.

  19. Wonder which amendment we use to defend against misuse of the fourth amendment?

  20. The city counsel and mayor collect taxpayer money.
    The citizens need to get warrants to their bank accounts to make sure they aren’t embezzeling or taking bribes. They need warrants for their computers to make sure they aren’t using them to stalk school children.
    They need warrants for drug and diet tests, to make sure no city employee eates too much sugar, smokes, drinks or does anything else to cost taxpayers money.
    And the justification… Carlos Danger, and all the corrupt officials in the news in just the last year!
    The citizens need warrants to subject all city employees subject to random cavity searches too: you can’t be too careful when it comes to searching politicians. We don’t need a reason, other than, they’re not self employed.

  21. Ok everybody calm down. I live in MN, and no they do not inspect your house for dirty dishes if you’re a renter. I read into this some more because it seemed like something was being left out. The owners of the property needed to renew their rental license, which requires an inspection to make sure the property meets minimum safety codes and is legally habitable. The tenants are being jerks and not allowing them in. They were provided with 48 hour notice before the inspection. They are just objecting on the principle that, since there’s no evidence of “wrongdoing,” they shouldn’t have to let anybody in.

    These kinds of inspections are necessary to ensure that renters live in safe conditions and to prevent slum lording. Officials say that they often find hazards people weren’t even aware of. It takes a trained eye to identify those sometimes. As long as they’re being given fair notice, and the landlords will be required to pay for anything that needs to be fixed, I don’t know what the hullabaloo is about.

    • It’s about a person’s right to privacy, and unreasonable searches. If it was for the owners to renew their license, then that should have been in the article. How about they start applying that to homeowners as well, say every year before you can renew your homeowners insurance? Government is becoming more intrusive every year. And we are losing our rights slowly but steadily. Soon we won’t have any left. Especially if they get another liberal on the Supreme Court. This nanny state is out of control. Like after the Boston Bombing, or Hurricane Katrina, cops just waltzed in and did what they did.
      This used to be America, home of the free, and it’s becoming AmeriKa. home of the oppressed. I’m halfway surprised the cops just didn’t shoot them after being denied entrance. Soon it will get to that point if we don’t stand up to this Government overreach. Go ahead a lie down and let them roll over you if you want, but don’t expect REAL Americans with a pair between their legs to follow suit.

    • The renter of any property is entitled to “quiet enjoyment” of the premises. That means that unless there is an imminent emergency that will cause major property damage or risk of serious injury or death within a very short time frame, the renter is legally treated like “the owner” of the property. If the government wants to “inspect” the premises, they can do so when the tenant’s occupancy is terminated. Better yet, they could compromise on this issue and give the tenants a questionnaire instead of demanding illegal entry into their residences; who knows their living conditions better than people who live in those conditions?

  22. It’s the nanny state run wild.

    • They have rental licenses in new jersey. You have to provide township with ids for everyone, and vehicle license nimbers. . And pay the permit. The place was totally uninhsbitabke, so many many many dangerous building code violations, but they all work on bribery there. Amazed i could niot find any books on how much bribes things take to get done.

  23. I’d leave a HUGE dookie in the tilet and tell them that they interrupted the best dump of my life. If they want to see it, then there it is!


  25. I had a go-round with our board of health and when they didn’t get far with me they sent the fire chief and his inspector out to check my smoke detectors. I wouldn’t let them in and so far I haven’t heard anything from either of them. It has been a year but I am always on the lookout for the health and fire nazis.

  26. I would blow their ass to kingdom come.
    Double ought buck right in the face.

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