Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 11:46 pm | Fair 61º


Letter to the Editor: 4th Amendment Rights Gone?

The 4th amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. That is why police need warrants.

And yet, according to Meriem Hubbard, a Pacific Legal Foundation attorney, “ Santa Barbara singles out home sellers and coerces them into giving up their vital 4th amendment privacy protections.”

She goes on to say, “ sellers are pressured to allow city agents to roam through living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, closets and attics without any evidence that the house has any problems.”

In Santa Barbara, the city law “requires home sellers to apply for a zoning inspection report and pay a $475 fee for the inspection process within 5 days of a sale agreement.” The inspections are open-ended, covering a variety of city codes, even though the Zoning Department staffers who conduct them aren’t licensed building inspectors or surveyors, according to the legal team. 

The Legal Foundation pointed out that the city has recently allowed sellers to opt out of the searches but still pay for an exterior inspection.

But, according to Hubbard, this is misleading. The ordinance still remains unchanged and provides for criminal charges if the inspections are not allowed.

It is time to stop the targeting of home sellers for searches and prying. This is unconstitutional.

It is up to our politicians and city council members to change this and stand up for what is right.

Diana Thorn


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