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(a) Inspection by agency. An enforcing agency may inspect the condition of any dwelling, nonresidential structure, and other premises to safeguard the health and safety of occupants and the public.
(b) Administrative search warrant. The enforcing agency may apply to a judge of the District Court or Circuit Court for an administrative search warrant to enter any premises regulated under this Chapter to conduct a code enforcement inspection.
(c) Application for warrant. The applicant for the warrant must, in writing and under oath, particularly describe the premises to be searched and the nature, scope, and purpose of the proposed search.
(d) Grounds for issuance. A judge may issue the warrant if the judge finds that:
(1) the applicant is authorized or required by law to make the inspection;
(2) the applicant has demonstrated that the inspection of the premises is sought:
(A) as a result of evidence of an existing violation of this Chapter or other law; or
(B) as a result of a general and neutral administrative plan to conduct fire inspections or a condition of a rental property license which authorizes periodic inspections;
(3) the owner, tenant, or other individual in charge of the property has denied access to the property, or after making a reasonable effort the applicant has been unable to contact any of these individuals for oral communication; and
(4) the inspection is sought for health, safety, and general welfare related purposes.
(e) Described premises. An administrative search warrant issued under this Section must describe the premises to be searched. The inspection must not exceed any limit specified in the warrant.
(f) Time period. An administrative search warrant issued under this Section must be executed and returned to the judge who issued it not later than:
(1) the time specified in the warrant, which must not exceed 30 days; or
(2) if no time period is specified in the warrant, 15 days after it is issued.
(g) Information confidential. Any information obtained under an administrative search warrant is confidential and must not be disclosed, except:
(1) in an administrative or judicial proceeding arising out of a violation relating to the purpose for which the warrant was issued and within the scope of the warrant; or
(2) to an owner or occupant of the premises.
(h) Access. Each occupant of a dwelling or nonresidential structure must give the owner access to the dwelling or nonresidential structure at all reasonable times to make repairs or alterations or take other action necessary to comply with this Chapter or an order issued under this Chapter.
(i) Determination of lead agency. When a violation of this Chapter also falls under the jurisdiction of another County department or office, the Chief Administrative Officer must determine which agency will investigate possible violations and enforce this Chapter. (Mont. Co. Code, 1965, § 91-4; 1972 L.M.C., ch. 16, § 3; 1980 L.M.C., ch. 29, § 1; 1988 L.M.C., ch. 23, § 1; 1993 L.M.C., ch. 26, § 1; 1994 L.M.C., ch. 26, § 1; 2002 L.M.C., ch. 15 , § 1.)
Editor’s note—Former § 26-4, “Inspections generally; when warrants required; right of entry of inspectors and owners,” was repealed, reenacted with amendments, renumbered § 26-11, and retitled pursuant to 2002 L.M.C., ch.15, § 1.
Editor’s note—Former § 26-11, “Hotels, boardinghouses, rooming houses and tourist homes,” which was derived from Mont. Co. Code 1965, § 91-10; 1972 L.M.C., ch. 12, § 4; 1972 L.M.C., ch. 16, § 13; 1980 L.M.C., ch. 29, § 1; 1988 L.M.C., ch. 23, § 1, was repealed by 2002 L.M.C., ch. 15 , § 1.