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Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Unconstitutional? Of course not. Trust me!

This is a must read article in the Belleville News-Democrat about Belleville IL 's occupancy code and the (mis)use thereof. A brief synapsis before you read the article.

From the Belleville News-Democrat:

Belleville's housing inspections

The News-Democrat reported in December that the city of Belleville routinely sends "enforcement teams" consisting of a housing inspector and police officer to investigate housing code occupancy complaints.

The inspectors, in checking for overcrowding or for people who are residing in a place where they are not listed on the city's occupancy permit, sometimes entered homes without permission, and ticketed residents for refusing to allow inspectors inside without a search warrant.

Of 263 occupancy inspection cases filed since 1999, most inspections occurred in Belleville's poorest neighborhoods; some residents were ticketed just for having relatives or friends visit.

Will Jordan, executive director of the nonprofit Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council, says his organization is launching an investigation into how Belleville enforces its housing codes.

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