If you substitute a Richardson rental house inspector for King Arthur and a give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death type renter for the French soldier, you'd have pretty much the scene that played out in the courts and the Richardson city council recently.King Arthur: If you will not show us the Grail, we shall take your castle by force!
French Soldier: You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person! Ah blow my nose at you, so-called "Arthur Keeeng"! You and all your silly English Knnnnnnnn-ighuts!!!
Source: Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
After the jump, the city council's retreat.
During a Richardson City Council work session the council reviewed the city's rental registration and inspection program and unanimously expressed their desire to have city staff draw up amendments to relax the ordinance.
Specifically, the city will conduct regular mandatory exterior inspections and offer to conduct a voluntary interior inspection as well. The city will no longer conduct interior inspections without the consent of the tenant unless the exterior inspection reveals violations that give the city probable cause to conduct an interior inspection as well.
What is the practical effect of this change? Probably none. Most renters, if they care about their health and safety, welcome an independent inspection of the house they are going to be spending the majority of their hours in. (Most homeowners, too, for that matter. I had someone install a water heater in my house. I welcomed a city inspector into my house to check that the installation was done properly.) So, most landlords and renters will continue to abide by the policy as before.
But, let's face it. There are some who have great antipathy towards "the government." So much so that they will refuse an offer that's in their own interest. If a renter declines a free inspection of the house he or she is planning to spend an awful lot of time in, and a health or safety violation exists, it's his life at risk (and possibly his children, which would be a tragedy -- that's my only hesitation in supporting this change). So be it. Don't force it. There is no reasoning with an empty-headed animal food-trough wiper whose mother was a hamster and father smelt of elderberries!
To read my earlier thoughts on this subject, read Of Slumlords and Castles.