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New property code regulations cross the line

January 25, 2014
The Marietta Times

I hope you live in a perfect home! Especially you, Council-people. Last year in August, the Marietta City Council passed the update to the city's property code with the newest version of the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) written by a private corporation called the International Code Council. This IPMC has been implemented quite rapidly and widely throughout the United States and versions exist all over the world. It is an update to an older version, which the city of Marietta has been using since 1999. The code itself contains common sense standards. Yet, the code also includes (even earlier versions) the addition of an Office of Code Enforcement, or such duties relegated to a code enforcer. This may sound fine so that the code is implemented evenly and problems can be fixed, but at the same time, the powers which are wielded by a code enforcer are great. Did you know that the code allows the code enforcer, by himself or with the aid of the police, to enter a property without due process? All under the assumption that the code is being violated. This stems from the ability of a complaint to be easily, even anonymously, submitted to the code enforcer which by the code itself, is grounds to assume the code is being disregarded on that property. This allows him and armed police to search the premises and even enter forcibly into the structure in question. Yet remember, law states that police and other government entities cannot legally enter a property by themselves without a judge issued warrant. This power is amazing by itself, but also sets precedence for other impositions by local, state and federal government allowing them to wield power over the individual and his rights to own property without intrusion.



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