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  1. #1

    Default Forced Inspection

    I went to the county to simply inquire about whether or not I need a permit for a swingset and if I could place it over my septic easement. The guy looks at my plat and notices that my well isn't clearly marked on the plat and may not be up to code due to the age of the well. He then proceeds to tell me that, now that he has seen the plat, he is going to require a formal inspection of my well including testing. WHAT? For one thing, I have never ever had a problem with my well. I guess it is about 50-60 years old. I have always been told by the folks who have done work on the well over the years that I have the best well in the county in terms of flow and water quality.

    Does the mere fact that I went in to ask a question about one thing give them the right to force an inspection on my property over something that made them curious on my plat? I have not even submitted a building permit, which apparently I don't even need in the first place. Just knowing the age of my well and that it probably wasn't built to current code (obviously, due to the age) doesn't seem like just cause to make an inspection to me.

    Help! I feel like an idiot going in to ask an innocent question, which now may cost me thousands of dollars.

    Mrs. T

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    CT & IL

    Default Re: Forced Inspection

    He still needs PROBABLE CAUSE & a WARRANT to enter onto your property for the well. Here is what is likely to occur.

    1) YOU write the town a notice of trespass to tell the town that none of their employees are allowed on your land (if you don't, they can enter w/o committing a trespass) or YOU tell the guy to stay off your land when he comes over (dicey since you may not be there). This is a simple instrument--just telling them not to enter & providing a copy to your town clerk (and I would copy the police). If they come over onto your land, don't play games--call the police ASAP--if you start talking to them explaining your "story" you may have seen to be just giving them the right to violate your notice.

    2) if the town wants to get on your land then they can file an injunction in civil court against you to prevent you from stopping them coming on your land.

    3) a judge, in the civil case will rule if there is probable cause for gaining entry onto your property.

    The burden is upon them to get an injunction in this type of case and to show probable cause (a hunch isn't going to cut it).

    I well is just a hole in the ground ... instead of saying "probably wasn't built to code" why not examine the code and make a factual determination, huh? I doubt age has anything to do with the code, other than a possible grandfathering in to a previous you may want to look at the current code & the code when it was put in.

    What did you find out about your swingset, need a permit? You should also be able to get your well water tested for should do this anyway every 1-5 years.

    Also, you did not enter your state ... the above information would be correct for every state I know of ... but there maybe one or 2 states that allow municipal agencies to ask for warrants (then it would be an ex-parte hearing)

    Below is a link to a recent CT case regarding a similar issue (town official trying to get onto private land w/o warrant):

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Forced Inspection

    As you were told when you posted, laws vary by state.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Forced Inspection

    Wow, that was pretty rude.

    You are wrong, by the way. There are federal guidelines regarding the Fourth Amendment and warentless searches. I have already gotten the answer from a lawyer. No health inspector can enter your property without permission or a warrant, although he/she can make open field inspections if they can see your property from a place where the general public would be allowed to be.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Forced Inspection

    Yes, it was very rude of you to ignore the instruction to identify your state, and the explicit notice that it is necessary due to the fact that laws vary by state. It is also very rude of you to continue to do so. Now that we're done discussing your rude behavior perhaps you can finally get around to following the instruction to identify your state.

    You overstate what a health inspector can and cannot do, but that's an issue for another day.

    State law is important even when there is federal authority because some states offer protections beyond the federal minimum. Also, sometimes there is better case law in one federal circuit than in another. (The fact that you don't understand these issues doesn't render the requested information unnecessary.)

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