Woman concerned over police presence during mandatory apartment inspection

LONGMONT - When you're renting an apartment there are certain rights you give up to the landlord, including the possibility of inspections when given notice. But what if that notice said that inspection was happening, and police officers and a K9 would be there?
 
That's what caused Ray Appling of Longmont to worry. 
 
"My original thought was they were violating my 4th Amendment right," she said. 
 
Her apartment, The Suites in Longmont, gave her a 24-hour notice that there would be an inspection of her apartment and others in her building. It included the following line:
 
"Please note that we will occasionally have K-9 units with LPD accompany us for purposes of training and compliance"  
 
"If I haven't committed a crime there's no reason to come into my apartment," Appling countered. 
 
So Denver7 took her concerns to the Longmont Police Department, and Detective Commander Joel Post. 
 
"We the police have gone in the past and may go tomorrow with the housing authority when they do inspections," he said.
 
The Longmont Housing Authority manages The Suites apartments. They also have a partnership with Longmont Police.
 
The question at issue is don't police need a warrant to do that? The answer: not if they have the consent of the renter. 
 
"If consent is granted the officer and the dog would go in and do a search. If consent was not given, the officer and the dog would not enter the apartment," Commander Post said.
 
"Nowhere in this letter does it say we have the right to refuse that," Appling said.
 
Her worry is that people in her building are simply going to let the police in to search without knowing that they can say "no." But the LPD says it's simply for training. 
 
"Totally voluntary on their part," Post said. "Absolutely not trying to skirt the law."
 
But if the police are let in and find something, the renter may have to face the law. Meaning possible criminal charges. 
 
"The whole process just seems just a little shady to me," Appling said. 
 
Keep in mind, the only way police are allowed to search inside your apartment is if they have a search warrant or if you give them verbal consent. They can't go in if you're not home or if you say "no." That's something Appling is planning on saying Tuesday during those inspections
 
Need help? Have questions about your rights as a renter? 
 
The Colorado Apartment Association has a renter's rights booklet that includes everything from when a landlord can enter your home to your responsibilities as a renter. That link can be found right here: http://www.caahq.org/main/colorado-renters-guide/
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