30 votes

*Please Help!* Random Police Searches of my apartment complex?!

Hey fellow freedom loving folks, I just got home from work to find a notice under my apartment door.. here's what it says, along with a picture: http://imgur.com/pfOR7 (edit: the highlighting was done by me, not them)

We have posted or delivered multiple notices regarding marijuana use in the building. We continue to get complains from tenants and smell it in the hallways ourselves when giving showings to possible tenants. This is unacceptable and illegal. We have requested that the Davenport Police Department begin making random checks, with a drug dog, of the building.

First off, this was part of the monthly newsletter for the complex, so everyone got this notice, not just me. Isn't that a flagrant violation of our 4th Amendment rights? Even after reading the following Wikipedia article on common areas of buildings, it seems the police must have either a search warrant OR third-party consent AT TIME OF ENTRY in order to perform a search in common areas. These cases don't seem to indicate that the property owners can give the cops free reign to search whenever the hell they feel like it.


So what do you think? If they are indeed asking the police to perform illegal, unconstitutional searches, what would be the proper course of action?

EDIT: I did not intend to imply that I am the one violating the lease/law. Many of the responses have indicated that I should move. That is neither desirable nor feasible at the moment. Of course the landlord has a right to have common areas searched.. what bothers me is the wording they used: "random checks".. as if the police are their own personal Gestapo.

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They might ignore you but

They might ignore you but have you tried writing or calling the state ACLU?

Write A Letter

Send the landlord/owner a letter..registered mail...and let them know you will NOT comply. Let them know its against your rights and you do not consent. Good luck

I believe in Hope & Change..I Hope the government will Change
Spindale-Rutherford County-North Carolina


people get their selves in these situations , my niece was looking for an apartment and she signed a lease with very strict rules , #1-she could not have any friends or family visit after 10pm, if that's not enough, the landlord could go in and inspect the apartment anytime she wants even without her being home. why in the hell would anyone sign a contract with these rules ? it blows my mind!!!!!

The Wit Of Walty

The note in of itself is suspicious, why would they warn anyone? Is this common procedure.. anywhere?

As a further precaution, attempt to discover any 'planted evidence' that may be in your apartment.

Walty has 'the wit of the idea' to take.. love fooling the fool'ers.



Wally is phunny

Tell your room mate good bye and start looking for a room or a new place to move. Give the manager your 30 day notice and move on.

It is better to part with sweet sorrows, than to be arrested and then booted.

Why take the chance? Moving is easier, as hard as it is to leave your confort zone, if you are guilty, smoking marijuana, have no legal permissio/ Dr recommendation.. you've seen all the signs..


Or stop smoking illegally and don't fret on any "invasion" on your privacy... when you don't have stuff to find, you don't hide. Marijuana making you hide your life? Most of us, including Ron Paul don't live in a saftey deposit box.. whihc you could keep your stash, but if you can't afford the time, don't do the crime.. if you are guilty


If you're not guilty. get insurance, saftey deposit your things worth value and know, homes have been searched since people had homes. Protect yourself (I'm not saying get a gun, but if I had a gun, I'd have that licked up... follow the rules or MOVE.

Jefferson's picture

I like

Walty's idea too.

self edit:

One thing is for sure. You DON'T have any property rights or privacy in an apt. complex. You BARELY have them if you're in a house. I've been at house parties where the cops show up and say that "someone dialed 911 from that location" and proceeded to search the house. You were lucky to be warned.

Animal scents are another interesting aspect, although not nearly as appealing to the human nose.
Here's Cooper explaining how dogs work.

Disclaimer: This information is hypothetical and for entertainment purposes only. Poster is not responsible for any actions that may result from reading this. Non attorney non-paid spokesman. Not valid with any other offers. Only one per customer. May cause irritation of the eyes and skin. For erections lasting longer than 4 hours seek emergency room help immediately. Some assembly required.

I know you are a lessee BUT...

Why don't you recruit someone who owns in the association to ruin and replace e board of the association?

That way you guys can have more control.

What is the point of having free will if one cannot spit in the eye of the destiny others leave you with? #ActorofConscience

Send them a card from your attorney

With "Please do,I always wanted to acquire a free apartment building" written on the back.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

the owner is allowed to have

the owner is allowed to have them search the hallways i believe, not ur apt. But if a cop is searching the hallways then smells marijuana from coming from a certain apt, i believe thats enough for probable cause to then either come in depending on the state u live in, or they can then go get a warrant for the smell and come back and search. Not that i agree with it but yea. Im no lawyer, but thats how i always understood it to work

Hell yes that is illegal!

Hell yes that is illegal! That isn't even a question. A search warrant is absolutely required. I can't help but think that the landlord is just trying to scare the offenders out. That is such a violation.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Benjamin Franklin

Get the hell out of Naziville for starters

But before that, don't you dare think of opening that door if Johnny-5 arrives sans properly filled-out search-warrant.
Yes, they will be happy to ruin your life over a plant that grows from God's green earth.
The landlord can come in with a key, but only after giving you (in most places) 48 hours advanced notice.
Get a chain lock from Home Depot or Ace Hardware or whatever, and install that to prevent unwanted early-Saturday-morning-type landlord intrusions.
Apartment-living is definitely a case of ‘if its not one thing, its another’
Also, +1 on just scattering ditch-weed every-damn-place. Be sure to leave extra in the Gestopo main offices, next time you drop off your rent. Harsh, but hey, I've no sympathy for narcs nor anyone who would assist the police in their idiotic
War on plants, extracts, and alkaloids
aka The War on (some) Drugs (that we arbitrarily decided you can't have)

what about the stench

... of tyranny? What about the fact that this smell indicates people are consuming an herb which may in fact dramatically reduce your risk of cancer? When did We The People vote to give the government JURISDICTION OVER ALL PLANTS? I don't remember voting on that issue? When was that?

Complain about the ventilation.

most likely the building was designed for fresh air to be introduced into the hallways slightly pressurizing them. there should be a grill or a large gap under the door for the air to be let in.
the air then exits through the bathroom fan.
it is possible that you have through the wall units. and that is how fresh air is introduced. if that is the case, run the fart fan.
if there is no ventilation in the building, you should move anyhow.
air from the units should never enter the hallway.


Buy your own house.

First of all, I believe people have a right to do what they want with their own body, but that right ends when it impedes on another person's right to breathe clean air. My husband and I own a house with apartments in it and do not even allow tobacco use on our property, and this is clearly stated in our leases. When we have had issues with pot in our house we communicate directly with our tenants and they have either been respectful of the policy, or choose to move elsewhere. I'm not sure, but I would think that the property owners would be able to give consent to the police to search anywhere on their property without a warrant, although I wouldn't advise it. When you get them involved you never know what might happen. I don't judge or care if people do drugs, but I do care if my children are subjected to smelling it, and I would also care if it hindered my ability to rent vacant apartments, because then is your habit not only impacting my health, but also my wallet. If you want to smoke, go buy your own house. Your apartment is not your property, it is the landlord's property.

is the HVAC system YOUR responsibility?

do you know what happens when you remove the V from HVAC? you get a hack. and people get sick.
you are endangering your tenants if you allow formaldehyde, Radon or other noxious but pleasant smells. if you do not know what I am talking about, especially if you own Gas furnaces.
you are the problem. all I am saying is, it would appear you have no working knowledge of these systems. or you would not be so pious.
which is more dangerous, cigarette smoke or mold spores?
when it comes to IAQ, the solution to pollution is dilution and containment.


We own a very old house

built in 1860, that is on the National Registry of Historic Homes. We have steam radiators and there are no ducts for heat or air conditioning. If you have any suggestions for making my home safer for all of us who live here I would be happy to hear them, but I would still not allow any smoking on MY property. I'm not trying to be pious, I just think that none of you seem to be seeing this from the other perspective, both the owner of the property and the other residents.

If there are no ducts where

If there are no ducts where the smoke could spread from apartment to apartment, then what is the problem with people smoking in their own apartment? I live in an old historic apartment building as well with no duct work and the smoke from the smokers don't bleed into other apartments so there are never complaints. So, since there is no venue for it to spread through, I wonder what your reasoning may be.

Blessings )o(

you have a convection system, heat only.

there is nothing wrong with that.
if memory serves me right, it is the steam trap that regulates each...zone. the boiler has probably been converted to natural gas.
you are doing your job if both are preseasoned.
I live in the deep south. I am a cooling specialist now. however, I am well versed in Hydronics. PM me with any curious questions you may have about your system! ;)

Thanks for the info...

I appreciate it!

I would look into moving or buying

and if that was not possible...Vap

Moving would be nice, but..

Financially, it is not an option for me nor my roommate. We're barely scraping by at the moment. Paying an early termination fee on our lease, putting a deposit on a new place and then covering the cost of moving itself is simply an impossibility at this point in time. It's a nice place, shame about the creeping fascism.

If there are any lawyers looking at this, I'd love some advice from a legal/constitutional perspective. Again, I'm not saying I'm the one causing the "problem". I just want to know whether or not they are legally in the right to be doing this.

Walty has the idea

At least step 1

Working for apt in the past

I used to work as an assistant manager for an apartment. One thing that we did was to send in the maintenance guy to check the plumbing inside each unit EVERY year. This was stipulated in the lease agreement and notices were posted a couple week prior entering. One time, our maintenance guy found a bag of something while checking the plumbing in the kitchen. The lease agreement stated that tenants could not use illegal drugs, so the manager called the police (after calling the lawyer to double check). The manager with the police then entered the unit without tenant or tenant's consent (the lawyer said OK).

So, I wouldn't go by what's on the wikipedia. Each county and/or city has its own rules. I'm not a lawyer, but when it comes to 4th amendment, the judge will weigh the tenant's right vs. property owner's right whether you like it or not.

From what I understand...

One of the newest bills passed has gotten rid of our 4th Amendment. I need to do some more research but I will get back here and let you know which bill it was.

Edited to add these, and I hope they might help:



i would just

get the hell out of that gulag!!!!

I have to agree.

There is no 4th Amen. anymore. 16th Amen. wiped it out. Now the 'Patriot Act', NDAA, your virtual lack of privacy rights under your lease, 'probable cause'; pretty much stacked against you-any renter.

In this case, I wouldn't even bother a lawyer friend. I'd move. If you have to break your lease you could look into using the landlord's police tactics as an out.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

I agree...

You need to move as soon as you are able. Rent a home with your roomate. I would never allow someone the right to search my home, especially if they didn't have a real reason too.

It sucks, it blows, and it ain't right ...

but there is case law on this.

If a dog hits on the oder, there may be probable cause and a warrant may not be needed to inspect the apartment to see if there are any drugs "in plane sight".

Keep it stashed in a foot locker that you own and lock it up. They will need a warrant to get in that foot locker. It might slow them down and possibly deter them due to the paper work, but I bet they can find a judge that will sign it.

You have rights as a tenant, but they are not the same rights as someone who owns the establishment in which they reside.

Personally, I would also think about being a little more courteous to your neighbors. If they don't like the smell, smoke it somewhere else or look for another apartment.

Civil disobedience comes with risks. I hope you realize that. It sucks, but you could possibly be permanantly branded a felon for your actions.

God Bless.


that you?