Landlords in Omaha say the city’s rental inspection program crosses the line.
According to a news report, more than 1,000 landlords are participating in a class action lawsuit against in federal court.
Landlords say the city’s code inspectors do not follow standards, and that enforcement is arbitrary. One landlord told reporters that he was issued a criminal citation for a “vacant and open structure” that he doesn’t own.
The complaint filed with the court details a number of individual incidents, including landlords:
Being subjected to violations of their real property, civil, or constitutional
Having been threatened, coerced, intimidated, punished, fined, or imprisoned;
Having their real property held, encumbered, or taken without due process or for irrational, arbitrary, discriminatory, illegal, or other improper purposes;
Being forced to pay more than $100 to file an appeal or obtain a hearing before the Building Board of Review;
Having property taken or condemned because they rented to minority tenants; and,
Having been intimidated, threatened, retaliated against, or punished for consulting with or retaining a lawyer, seeking to appeal to the Building Board of Review, raising challenges to decisions regarding code enforcement to the courts, or attending or testifying before the Building Board of Review or courts freely, fully, and truthfully.
One inspector has been accused of being openly discriminatory.
The complaint also includes a claim against the city for racketeering.
Landlords are seeking damages, restitution, an injunction stalling enforcement of the program, and a declaration voiding the ordinance.
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