Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me slide over a notch on the subject of building inspections as there is the other side of the fence, official municipal inspectors. I am speaking of Chicago. I owed three multi-flat buildings in Humboldt Park which at the time was a Puerto Rican (largely) area with all the usual problems of crime, arson and riots going back to the fifties. I bought into the area with VA and FHA loans assisted by my status as a Viet Nam veteran.

During that time the city was concerned mainly with clearing out abandoned buildings and gutted garages. Legit inspections occurred if there were complaints or the building was sold and conformity to city specs was required. Regular arson was a neighborhood social affair and when a center building spread flames to the houses on either side the crowds whistled at the firemen to go hit the new building being burned whether north or south of the original. In this case the little old Polish lady who went to Poland to visit came back and found three vacant lots where her home was. A Mexican neighbor showed me some Federal stats indicating that area's housing stock was depleted by 43% from 1945 to 1973. In due course this are became attractive as a cheap property source and many old properties were bought up. By 2000 the area had appreciated enough to have serious inspection standards laid upon all surviving buildings. These were mainly drive-by deals concerned with the exterior structure and contents of the yard.

I faced one such complaint for deteriorated siding at the top of a three story enclosed porch where a gutter overflowed, and replacing a six inch corner post without a permit. No problem on the face of it but due to circumstances the matter went from a minor repair to a major one with many extensions to comply due to weather and health issues. One intermediate inspection caused a certain inspector to come onto the premises to make an in-process evaluation. Without comment he observed what was being done and reported to the judge at the next hearing that there were three abandoned vehicles in the yard and certain specifications were not met or the site was unsafe. This particular inspector was a sociopath hated by other property owners sitting in court. His modus operandi was to not tell of any alleged faults in the inspection. This is technically a violation of law as notice must be given of an issue to be presented in court. It also permits ambush or gotcha techniques to be employed against unsuspecting respondents/defendants. This man's testimony was technically libelous but there is no libel in court testimony. Anything untrue is perjury. I interrupted testimony to 'vehemently object" to what had been said but it wouldn't do to permit a defenant to call a city inspector a liar as that might queer his testimony against other property owners. Somewhere in all this the inspector and his "leash handler" (as I called him in pleadings) went to adjacent properties to photograph the building I was working on. Another inspector was also assigned to the case to do intermediate inspections and it took a careful nose to the ground tour of the premises to explain why large quantities of gardening materials were laying around amount the fruit trees. The inspectors don't realize that "debris on the ground' is likley to be material always on the premises as part of on-site working material. After a lot of screaming and waving the issue was settled with a statement of substantial compliance. This premises was subjected to another inspection where the inspector entered a private unused apartment upon invitation of the tenant on the floor below. That is a Fourth Amendment violation. A second party cannot give access to another's private premises. Neither could a female living with someone give unwarranted access to a premises upon a simple request to enter (if it is not her apartment).

In Illinois an inspector was given access to a premises upon invitation of a contractor and a city cause of action ensued. The defendant appealed and the Appellate court said, "well, maybe this time, but never again." Ask the proper party or get a warrant.
 
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Top