Perth Amboy, NJ asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for New Jersey

Q: Can Code Enforcement enter the backyard of my property?

I am a tenant in a rental house. Recently we have had a Code Enforcement Officer enter our backyard and issue us a warning for trash and debris on our property. We did not allow anyone to enter our backyard from the Borough nor did our Landlord permit them as his Agent and notify us. Is this permissible? Do I have a legitimate concern about my right to privacy being violated? They did photograph other parts of the property that aren’t private but that I still do not believe gives them permission to enter my property? I want to know if my rights were violated and if I have a case for a complaint or legal remedy as this also happend to this property last here when I lived here, they entered our property and took photos of the very back portion of our backyard which is only accessible through a private entrance or the back door of the house. Thank you.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: The question of whether Code Enforcement can enter your backyard without permission largely depends on local laws and regulations. Typically, code enforcement officers are allowed to inspect properties for violations of local ordinances, which can include issues visible from public spaces. However, entering private property, such as a backyard, often requires either the homeowner's permission, a warrant, or exigent circumstances that justify the intrusion without prior consent.

If you feel your privacy rights have been violated, it's important to understand the specific regulations that govern code enforcement activities in your area. Many jurisdictions have specific rules about when and how inspections can be conducted, including whether officers can enter private property without notice. Reviewing these rules can help clarify whether the actions taken were within legal boundaries.

If you believe that your rights were indeed violated, you might consider filing a complaint with the local governing body responsible for code enforcement. Seeking legal advice can also be beneficial to understand your options and whether you have grounds for any legal action. It's essential to document all interactions with code enforcement, including any notices or warnings received, as this information can be crucial in any potential legal proceedings.

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