Renters and landlords in Kansas can breathe a bit easier, knowing that they will soon be free from unconstitutional inspections of their homes. That’s because last week that the Kansas State Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation that would prohibit cities and counties from violating tenants right to privacy, by conducting warrantless search of rental properties. The bill, SB 366, which was already approved by the House, is currently sitting on Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk.
The bill protects the property rights of tenants and landlords across the state of Kansas by preventing city and county governments from adopting, maintaining or enforcing licensing ordinances that require periodic warrantless rental inspections. The government should not have the right to disrupt someone’s life and invade their property simply because a home is rented rather than owned.
The Institute for Justice is currently litigating against unconstitutional rental inspections in Minnesota. In spring 2015, the city of Golden Valley informed Jason and Jacki Wiebesick that in order to maintain their rental license, they would have to submit to inspection of their rental unit by the city’s inspector. Even though nothing was wrong with the unit, the city took the matter to court—without notifying the Wiebesicks or their tenants—and sought an administrative warrant. The city lost and appealed the decision. In January 2016, the Wiebesicks joined with IJ to protect the right of their tenants to be secure in their home and free from illegal government searches.