Oakwood approves $300K to resolve pre-sale inspection lawsuit

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

About $73,000 will go to 1,055 plaintiffs to refund a $60 inspection fee, with the rest covering attorney fees, according to city officials.

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

A lawsuit was filed by the 1851 Center in federal court in May 2016, claiming 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.

Explore>> Oakwood must repay owners for inspections ruled unconstitutional

The city updated the ordinance earlier this year in order to comply with the law.

“At issue in the case was the absence 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,” read a statement from the city. “Without that language, the ordinance appeared to mandate a minor misdemeanor criminal penalty for refusing an inspection.”

In 1992, search warrant language was left out of the ordinance accidentally.

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“This was a scrivener's error, a drafting mistake, that happened more than 25 years ago,” said City Law Director Rob Jacques. “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.”

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