WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –
There is anger in Hutchinson over rental property inspections.
Some landlords say the city is going too far in regulating them, even claiming inspectors are peeping into windows of homes.
Now, landlords are hoping the city will change the way inspections are done.
A handful of the community’s 15-hundred landlords showed up Tuesday to the Hutchinson City Council meeting, and emotions were high.
"I have been really upset with this," said one landlord.
"Some of the stories I’ve been told, they would be considered harassment by any reasonable person," added another landlord.
Some landlords are accusing inspectors of violating theirs and their tenant’s 4th Amendment Rights, prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures.
"The biggest concern we have is these inspectors getting off the public right of way and walking around houses," said Richard Greever, a landlord in Hutchinson. "They are looking in windows, otherwise they wouldn’t have seen things that they’ve seen. We have renters calling us afraid because of people have been looking in their windows."
Both sides Tuesday agreed there are slumlords in Hutchinson.
But some of these landlords argue they’re being targeted.
"Frankly, if you drive by a place and it looks like the Taj Mahal on the outside, I sincerely doubt it has plumbing that doesn’t work on the inside. I think there’s some common sense to be applied there," said Dr. Robin Jackson, another Hutchinson landlord.
The city says it’s recently changed the way it conducts inspections, now keeping its inspectors on the streets, alleys and sidewalks.
"We don’t want to freak people out, that’s not why we’re there," said Trent Maxwell, a Hutchinson Building Official.
Maxwell insists they’re doing what they can to help tenants.
"We get calls every week from tenants complaining about their living conditions, open holes in the wall, whatever it is," said Maxwell. "We never will go inside a rental that no one wants us inside."
Tuesday’s conversation was just that, to gather input from the community.
By the end of the year, the city will have to make a decision on the way inspections are completed.