The right to own and use private property is a cornerstone of a free society. But rather than respect these rights, many local governments are continually crafting new ways to intrude into the homes and businesses of ordinary Americans. The Institute for Justice stands at the forefront to spot and counter these new threats to private property.

Rental Inspections

Under rental inspection programs found in many cities nationwide, government agents can rummage through a renter’s home without their consent or even any allegations that they’ve done something wrong. Unlike a proper warrant based on probable cause and individualized suspicion, rental inspectors can instead obtain an “administrative” warrant to perform their searches—a warrant in name only. In other words, thanks to rental inspection programs, it’s easier for the government to snoop on law-abiding citizens than the homes of suspected criminals.  

Municipal Fines and Fees

Many cash-strapped local governments are turning to code violations as way to raise revenue. Often, many local governments can keep the revenue from fines and fees, which gives them a strong incentive to keep issuing tickets based on even the most petty violation. Rather than protecting and serving the public, municipal governments are treating their residents as little more than ATMs.


All Americans should have the right to live in peace and do what they please with their own property, provided that they do not infringe on the rights of others. Unfortunately, many zoning ordinances have become incredibly intrusive and capricious. Severe restrictions and even outright bans block entrepreneurs from setting up home-based businesses, homeowners who wish to rent out their property, and even gardeners who want to grow vegetables in their front yard.  

Other Property Rights Abuses Cases

See More

Other Property Rights Abuses Research

Other Property Rights Abuses | Private Property

A Case Study of Municipal Taxation by Citation

This study examines taxation by citation—local governments using code enforcement and the justice system to raise revenue rather than solely to advance public health and safety. It does so through a detailed case study of…

See More