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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Olympia Plans Home Inspections

Olympia is introducing regulation to inspect residential rental units supplied by private owners.

HB 1266 is ostensibly designed to ensure landlords will not supply the market with "substandard" housing.

If you rent, the bill will authorize government agents to inspect your home for whatever the current definition of substandard is.

At this writing, the list includes a number of judgment calls to be made by an inspector by way of an unsworn statement; Owners will be compelled to comply without any benefit of witnesses against them.

If the inspector discovers a "defect", such as a dent you made in the wall with your couch when you moved in (I used to rent), the inspector will be able to force the landlord to repair the hole, at the tenant's expense. It all depends on whether the inspector thinks the tenant might be at some sort of risk.

That's not all....

If you have recently rented a place, you are aware of the large amount of written material the landlord handed you. That bulk is to be increased with noticed of how you should exit your home in am emergency; a notice there is a smoke detector in the unit, with a detailed description of how the detector works, plus you will have to sign the notice and hand one copy back to the landlord; an alert about the health dangers of mold; and more micromanagement.

The legislature is making a clear attempt to invade privacy with warrantless searches. The way the bill is written, it can be expanded to include all privately owned housing.

We need to tell Olympia to stop screwing with us. We can take care of ourselves.


This legislation will probably result in some state inspector being beaten up by an irate renter. We should start a legal defense fund for those renters. The renters will be the victims.

Please let your legislator know what you think of this stupid bill.


Olympia's planned home invasions will cost renters much in money and privacy. Renters live under protection of a contract with their landlords. The US Constitution, Article 1, Section 10, states, "No state shall enter into any ... law impairing the obligation of contracts...."

Contact the sponsors and remind them they serve under higher laws. The sponsors of the bill are: Jamie Pedersen, Jay Rodne, Judy Warnick, Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, and Troy Kelley.

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