I'm sure some of you remember this thread.
The Unified Government of Kansas City, KS/Wyandotte County sent a letter to my landlady which also happens to be my mother stating that they intended to inspect my rental townhouse unit. I've done a lot of reading since then and determined that they probably needed a warrant. I called Code Enforcement and they insisted that they did not.
They came out at the appointed time last Tuesday. I met the inspector at the door holding a video recorder. The inspector asked if there was a problem with him doing the inspection. I told him that I was requesting a warrant. He said that he didn't need a warrant, only my permission. I replied by telling him that he did not have my permission and in lieu of that would need an Administrative Warrant. He produced a 2-way radio from his belt and walked away from the door to have his conversation.
He returned to place a sticker on the door indicating that the unit was substandard. My phone rang and it was my mother/landlady. They had called her home and told her that I had refused the inspection and that they were going to revoke her rental license. They told her that they had absolute right to make the inspection without a warrant, that it had been through the courts including the Supreme Court, their rights were upheld and I was in violation of the law. They also insisted that she set up a new inspection date and told her that if I refuse at that time they would revoke her license and I would have to be evicted.
Well, all this had my mother pretty shook up, I reasoned with her some over the phone and then went to her house. I showed her some case decisions that I had found on the internet, a letter written by Carla Stovall (prior Attorney General for Kansas) and a teaching document for Kansas inspectors about search and seizure as it applies to code enforcement. She repeated that the woman who had called from code enforcement had insisted that their rights to make the inspection had been upheld even in Supreme Court. I told her that I was sure that the issue had not been to Federal Supreme Court, so doubting that they had any such documents, I asked my mother to call back to code enforcement and as them to send copies or at least give the case numbers so I could look them up. When she called, they recanted their previous statement and said that they used to have them on file but no longer have them. They gave her the phone number for the legal department and the name of a person who could provide the documentation.
At this point I took over and called the named person in their legal department asking about these documents, initially giving him only the information that code enforcement had attempted a warrantless rental property inspection. He seemed a bit surprised and asked a number of questions about the incident. He had an inspector dispatched to remove the substandard housing sticker and when I talked to him this morning, they were pursuing an administrative warrant to return for an inspection on Aug 8.
From everything that I have read it appears that the same constitutional rights that apply in criminal law also apply to inspections as I had expected. That is ANY inspection, fire, health etc. in an non-emergency situation. The test for residence is not nearly as strict as I would have thought. I expected Fourth Amendment rights to apply to any residence owned or rented including motel/hotel rooms but it further applies to a guest in a home. In one particular case that I read, a man had been the get-away driver in a service station robbery. He was reported to have run into a duplex. The police established that he didn't reside there and went in to make the arrest without a warrant. In the course of the arrest, there were some statements made by the suspect that were tossed out because the arrest was illegal. It turned out that the suspect had been a guest and spent the previous night in the duplex. That was enough to qualify for his expectation of privacy.
When the biggest enemy of government is an informed public, there is a serious problem.