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Vacant v. Abandoned Buildings

April 18th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

What kind of a vacant building can an inspector enter without an administrative search warrant?  It really depends on the facts of each case.  Just because a building is vacant doesn’t mean that it is abandoned.  A vacant building that is secure demonstrates the owner’s reasonable expectation of privacy.  If a building is open to the elements where critters and neighborhood children enter at will, the owner may have no reasonable expectation of privacy, especially if he or she has left for parts unknown.  Each case has to be evaluated on its own merits. If you’re having trouble deciding whether the owner still has a reasonable expectation of privacy inside the structure, it probably indicates you should get an administrative search warrant for an inspection.  At the very least, an inspector should check with local counsel.

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  1. Anthony Kern
    April 29th, 2009 at 10:58 | #1

    In our Arizona jurisdiction an Administrative Warrant is issued after the first initial inspection. In other words we usually get one free inspection but then we get an admin warrant. The warrants are easy to obtain and are very important in the legal process.

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