The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Who May Use Warrant Process?

Reference Number: MTAS-1082
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: October 23, 2017
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T.C.A. § 68-120-117 empowers local governments to take action against property owners who refuse to permit certified building inspectors to enter their premises, when there is reason to believe that code violations exist on the property. Following is the statutory language explaining who is required to be involved in the process:

(a) (1) “Agency” means any county, city, or town employing a building official certified pursuant to § 68-120-113;
(2) “Building official” means any local government building official certified pursuant to § 68-120-113; provided, that such officials are acting in their capacity as an official of a municipality or county, and provided that the official is seeking to enforce the ordinances or codes of such local government;…

A city must first employ a certified building inspector and adopt building codes, fire codes and/or property maintenance ordinances before taking action under the law. Certification of building inspectors is a function of the office of the State Fire Marshall. T.C.A. § 68-120-113. It is important to note that the inspector must be certified under the code being enforced in order to apply for an inspection warrant. The building inspector is the only municipal official charged with taking action under the law to obtain an inspection warrant.

Responsible: