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2017-08-11 City Forced To Pay Back Inspection Fees | By: Fellow GDREIA Members

City Forced To Pay Back Inspection Fees
Report by Dan Acton with OREIA

A northeastern Ohio city will be required to pay back hundreds of individuals who were illegally subjected to "point of sale" inspection fees, a federal court ruled.

Judge Benita Pearson of the Northern District of Ohio certified a class action lawsuit against the city of Bedford. The certified classes include all individuals and businesses that have had to pay the inspection fees since Sept. 10, 2014.

In 2015, 483 rental inspections were conducted, along with 284 inspections involving sales. The lawsuit was filed by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in May of 2016, which led to Bedford and the city of Oakwood rescinding their inspection policies.

"Local governments do not have unlimited authority to force entry into Ohioans' homes or businesses. To the contrary, 'houses' are one of the types of property specifically mentioned by the Fourth Amendment; and Ohioans have every moral and constitutional entitlement to exclude others, even government agents, from their property," center Executive Director Maurice Thompson said in a statement.

"The right to own property in Ohio has little value if local governments can continuously chip away at one's right to actually make use of that property, requiring government permission slips for basic arrangements such as the sale of one's home to a willing buyer."

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