BLACKWELL, Okla. – Residents in Blackwell are fuming over a proposed city ordinance that would allow code inspectors to check homes. The city says it wants to inspect homes for safety violations, but some residents say that invades their privacy.
“They’re not coming into my house, any of my houses, without a warrant,” said Shirley Fuller.
Fuller rents out 37 homes in town, and under the proposed ordinance, a code inspector would have to approve her apartments every time an occupant changed.
“What we’re looking for things that can cause people to be harmed,” said Code Inspector Steve Archer. “Example, they’ve got open wiring, a little kid walks up, touches that, gets electrocuted.”
Archer says the new ordinance aims to clean up the city.
“We’ve had a number of structure fires recently, and like I’ve said, we have had complaints from tenants about landlords not maintaining their properties,” said Archer.
However, at Monday’s City Council meeting, crowds showed up to express their disapproval. Some are worried because the ordinance also allows the city to inspect a home every time someone misses a utility payment.
“If we found minor things, we’d give them 90 days,” said Archer.
90 Days to pay to fix the violation or have the utilities turned off. If the home has a major violation, like sewage spills, the owner would have to leave until it’s fixed.
“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” said Archer.
Archer says it will make homes safer and more valuable.
“They’re just using it as an excuse for more money more inspections,” said Fuller. “They’re not taking my privacy from me.”
Code inspectors can also check a home if someone wants to move in after it’s been vacant for 180 days. Another reason to inspect a home would be if the house was condemned and made for re-occupancy.
City Council decided to table the issue until further notice. We will keep you updated.
You can see the full ordinance here below: