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Rental property owners in Portsmouth, Ohio pushed back against a 2012 city ordinance that required inspections of new rental properties before a license for occupation could be issued.

US District Court Holds Rental Property Inspections Unconstitutional

In a decision issued by the Southern District of Ohio on September 30, 2015 the court supported the rental property owners in the City of Portsmouth, Ohio.  The landlords felt that the inspections required to obtain a dwelling permit were a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights by mandating warrantless inspections of their properties without probable cause.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis many single family homes were abandoned and foreclosed upon opening the way for a wave of rental property development.  In 2012 Portsmouth adopted the Rental Dwelling Code to protect the welfare of occupants in rental dwellings.  Under the Code, rental properties were required to pass an inspection in order to obtain a license.  The Code disproportionately was applied to only single family rental dwellings and not multi-family properties.

This ruling upends the practice of rental property inspections.  For more details see the court record.