Oak­wood OKs $295K for in­spec­tion law­suit

More than 1,000 peo­ple will have $60 pre-sale in­spec­tion fee re­turned.

Dayton Daily News - - LOCAL & STATE - By Wayne Baker Staff Writer

Oak­wood lead­ers OAK­WOOD — this week ap­proved spend­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to re­solve a law­suit in­volv­ing a city in­spec­tion pro­gram, then de­fended the pro­gram and said it will con­tinue.

Oak­wood City Coun­cil agreed to pay $295,000 as a re­sult of a class-ac­tion law­suit re­gard­ing the city’s Pre-Sale In­spec­tion Pro­gram.

About $73,000 will go to 1,055 plain­tiffs to re­fund a $60 in­spec­tion fee, ac­cord­ing to city of­fi­cials. More than $200,000 will be spent to cov­er­ing at­tor­ney fees.

The in­spec­tion pro­gram re­quires prop­er­ties pass an in­spec­tion by the city be­fore be­ing sold.

A law­suit filed by the 1851 Cen­ter in fed­eral court in May 2016 claimed the re­quire­ment was like a war­rant-less search.

In Fe­bru­ary, Judge Thomas M. Rose in the South­ern District of Ohio re­jected the pre-sale in­spec­tions, grant­ing a re­fund of in­spec­tion fees.

The city then up­dated the or­di­nance to com­ply with the law.

An Oak­wood state­ment said the case cen­tered around a lack of a search war­rant pro­vi­sion in the or­di­nance “that would al­low for in­de­pen­dent ju­di­cial re­view in the event that a prop­erty owner re­fused con­sent for the in­spec­tion.”

“With­out that lan­guage, the or­di­nance ap­peared to man­date a mi­nor mis­de­meanor crim­i­nal penalty for re­fus­ing an in­spec­tion,” the state­ment said.

In 1992, search war­rant lan­guage was left out of the or­di­nance ac­ci­den­tally, ac­cord­ing to Oak­wood Law Di­rec­tor Rob Jac­ques.

“This was a scrivener’s er­ror, a draft­ing mis­take, that hap­pened more than 25 years ago,” Jac­ques said. “De­spite the court’s find­ing of li­a­bil­ity, the or­di­nance was never im­ple­mented in an un­con­sti­tu­tional man­ner, and the city never had so much as a sin­gle com­plaint prior to this law­suit.”

Bob Jones, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Day­ton Real­tors, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion still op­poses pre-sale in­spec­tions.

“As the trade as­so­ci­a­tion for all Real­tors in Oak­wood and the Mi­ami Val­ley, Day­ton Real­tors op­poses point-of-sale in­spec­tions by mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties,” Jones said. “Our po­si­tion is con­sis­tent with poli­cies that are in place at the state and na­tional lev­els.”

He said Day­ton Real­tors op­poses the in­spec­tions be­cause such pro­grams in­ter­fere with the right of prop­erty own­ers to sell and the right of buy­ers to seek an own­er­ship in­ter­est in real prop­erty.

Jen­nifer Wilder, di­rec­tor of per­son­nel and prop­er­ties for Oak­wood, pre­vi­ously said lo­cal real es­tate agents have ex­pressed sup­port for the pre-sale pro­gram.

Much of Oak­wood’s hous­ing stock dates back to the 1920s and 1930s, Wilder has said, and vir­tu­ally no sub­stan­dard hous­ing ex­ists.

The pro­gram en­sures that “Oak­wood hous­ing re­mains both safe and de­sir­able, and home val­ues re­main high,” Wilder has said. Con­tact this re­porter at 937-2250586 or email Wayne.Baker@ cox­inc.com.

STAFF / FILE

Oak­wood City Coun­cil has ap­proved $295,000 to re­solve a law­suit re­gard­ing the city’s Pre-Sale In­spec­tion Pro­gram.

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