Do renters have rights against illegal search and seizure?
You probably know that you have a right against illegal searches in Arizona. This comes from the U.S. Constitution. It protects you against the government or a government agent searching your person or personal property and seizing items that it could then use against you in court. While this law usually applies to all situations, there are exceptions. If you rent, you may find that you and your home are exempt.
Forbes explains the issue is local governments who want to conduct rental inspections and who do so without permission from the renter. Under a Supreme Court ruling on the Fourth Amendment, though, it allows for legislative or administrative standards to work as probable cause.
Inspection programs by local authorities may happen under the impression that they are for the greater good, which allows for the exception under the law. However, there have been many cases where courts feel such programs overreach and do infringe on rights. This is especially true when officials bring law enforcement on inspections.
One key point of the Supreme Court ruling was that the limited nature of rental inspections is not threatening to the privacy of the renter, and they are not for the purpose of gathering evidence, thus they do not violate rights. However, when inspectors bring law enforcement, it creates a different situation and creates concern.
It is a difficult situation, but one you should be aware of so that you can protect your rights if your city officials come to your home to conduct a rental inspection. This information is for education and is not legal advice.