View Our Practice Areas

Warrantless Administrative Searches Must Provide Due Process to Property Owners

Warrantless Administrative Searches Must Provide Due Process to Property Owners

Brandon Grysko, Esq.

Recently, a federal appeals court for the Sixth Circuit decided the case of Benjamin v. Stemple, which upheld the authority of a city to enter and secure dangerous vacant buildings without a warrant. An ordinance in the City of Saginaw required that vacant property owners sign a consent form allowing city inspectors to enter and secure any vacant buildings that were determined to be in dangerous condition. Saginaw property owners challenged the registration form in court, saying that it forced them to consent to unconstitutional warrantless searches of their properties. Ultimately, the court dismissed the case in favor of the city.

The court reasoned that warrantless administrative searches for building-code compliance are reasonable under the Fourth Amendment but only if property owners first have the chance for a fair hearing. Thus, the required consent form was not enough. The city ordinance provided for notice to the property owners that their buildings were deemed dangerous and an opportunity for the owners to challenge that determination in front of an administrative hearing board. Because the property owners received due process, the case was dismissed.

City officials and property owners alike should take note of this decision because it stands as an example of a city's exercise of authority to protect its residents from dangerous buildings as long as affected property owners receive due process.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Contact Our Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Office Location:
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168

Toll Free: 888-674-1189
Toll Free: 800-693-4800
Phone: 248-468-4536
Fax: 248-380-3434
Map & Directions

  • Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Ann Arbor -2020