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Flint Local NewsLandlord's bid to reopen Flint rental inspection lawsuit faces strong opposition

Landlord’s bid to reopen Flint rental inspection lawsuit faces strong opposition

Flint, Michigan – Lawyers representing the City of Flint insist that a 2016 lawsuit, which led to the suspension of their rental property inspection program, should not be reopened, even though a landlord wants it to be. They made this clear in a recent legal document submitted to the U.S. District Court on January 18, addressed to Judge Linda V. Parker. The city argues that the court doesn’t have the right to reconsider the case.

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Karter Landon wants the court to reopen a case he once won against the City of Flint

According to mLive, the landlord, Karter Landon, requested last month to have the case reopened and also wanted Judge Parker to stop the city from inspecting rental properties temporarily. About eight years ago, Landon had challenged Flint’s inspection process in court, claiming it infringed on his rights by allowing unreasonable searches of his rental properties.

A judge had previously sided with Landon, temporarily halting the city from doing inspections or punishing those who didn’t permit inspections without a proper warrant or specific conditions. Following this decision, Flint stopped its inspections. However, in 2020, after the City Council passed a new ordinance, the city resumed the inspection program.

City leaders say their new rules fixed the issues that were brought up in court before, but landlord Karter Landon doesn’t agree. Flint’s recent legal document points out that Landon ended his 2016 lawsuit in 2018, and there was a private agreement he made with the city, which wasn’t part of the court’s decision to close the case.

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The city mentioned in their response to Landon’s request to reopen the case that the agreement to close the case didn’t say the court would continue to have control over it. On the same day the city submitted this, Landon responded in court, saying he shouldn’t have to file a new lawsuit to protect his rights. Flint’s latest court document doesn’t respond to Landon’s claims about the current rental inspection rules being unconstitutional.

Landon claims that in December, Flint’s Treasurer, Amanda Trujillo, told him that the city would cut off water to his tenants if he didn’t agree to inspections without a warrant. He argues that the city isn’t telling landlords they can refuse these inspections and believes the re-started inspection program still has the same legal issues that led to his original lawsuit.

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Landon’s response points out that if he can’t reopen the existing case and has to start a new lawsuit, it would probably end up in the same court with the same facts, basically repeating the old case. The current rules in Flint say that every rental property must be registered with the city and pass an inspection to make sure it meets the city code’s standards.

For inspecting a single-family house, Flint charges a fee of $225.