Robert Rudnicki recently spoke out against an inspection program that mandates the yearly inspection of his and thousands of others’ homes in Oak Lawn. Rudnicki, a 30-year Oak Lawn resident, called the inspections “an affront to the basic rights of our privacy.”
On December 8th, 2015, Rudnicki addressed the Village Board during the public comments period. Rudnicki used his time to implore Village officials to reconsider their decision to amend a Village ordinance to mandate an annual inspection of rental residences. The Village outsourced the inspections to B & F Construction Code Services, Inc.
Rudnicki took issue with the privately contracted firm noting that he visited the company’s website and found several issues of concern. He said the company does not talk about the quality of its services or the quality of the inspectors that it uses but rather how the village can pass on the cost of the inspections to the village taxpayers.
Part of the ordinance specifies that residents have the right to withhold consent to the inspection. However, should that occur, the inspector is directed to seek a warrant to forcibly enter the premises from the Circuit Court of Cook County. The 4th Amendment of the US Constitution prevents the inspector from simply entering the premises without permission of a resident or without a warrant.
The ordinance includes language that specifies what factors the court may deem pertinent in issuing a warrant including:
- Eyewitness account of violation
- Citizen complaints
- Tenant complaints
- Plan view violations
- Violations apparent from city records
- Property deterioration
- Age of property
- Nature of alleged violation
- Similar properties in the area
- Documented violations on similar properties in the area
- Passage of time since last inspection
- Previous violations on property
The language of the ordinance does not provide the option for the inspector to waive the inspection. In fact, the inspector makes money from every inspection, thus incentivizing them to seek any and every warrant possible. B & F bills $65 per hour per inspector plus travel time for all work associated with the program.