SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Pacific Legal Foundation, on behalf of Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, filed suit against the City of Santa Barbara to change the city's Zoning Information Report (ZIR) ordinance.
This coming after NewsChannel 3 investigated this issue three years ago in an investigative piece. We found those reports are sometimes wrong. Leaving homeowners on the hook for thousands of dollars in repairs they never knew they needed to make.
Members of Santa Barbara's Association of Realtors deal with ZIR problems regularly. And finally decided the only way forward was to file suit.
The result of this will affect every city of Santa Barbara home owner. Right now sellers have no choice but to allow a city inspector in to their house, and pay $475 as that inspector looks for code violations.
"What we are filing for is we are challenging the constitutionality under the 4th amendment that say you have the right against unreasonable searches by government officials and right now they have an ordinance that says you have to have inspection by a government official and they have no probable cause or warrant," said Bob Hart, the executive at Santa Barbara Association of Realtors.
Mayor Helene Schneider told NewsChannel 3, she believed ZIR's serve a purpose. Besides ensuring that buildings are safe - ZIR's also act as a deterrent to shoddy work and keep people honest.
"This process does not have a cost; it's not a 100 percent cost recovery," said Schneider. "It does not pay or give a profit in any way shape or form to the city's community development process."