JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some people living at a Mandarin apartment complex are questioning a notice that they recently received.
Management left notes on doors telling some residents of the Pickwick Flats Apartments that they would be inspecting units along with Jacksonville sheriff’s officers on Wednesday. There were no search warrants or any other notifications.
Some residents reached out to the News4JAX I-TEAM, wondering if it was legal to do so.
When News4JAX showed up Wednesday morning, a manager told us that they did leave the notices as part of the Watch Program with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and that they inspect safety conditions of apartments but that any other information would have to come from someone else. We were given an email address, and so far, have not heard back.
One man, whose name we are not using, did tell us that he got a notice on his door that JSO and apartment staff would be inspecting his home.
“I thought police had to have a search warrant to search your residence,” he said.
One woman, who we are not naming, also got a notice.
“I was going to call and ask, you know, what’s that about? But they just put it on there, and I received it when I woke up this morning,” she said. “I don’t know why they did that.”
The notice that was left on some doors reads:
“Please accept this notification of an upcoming inspection on Wednesday, October 12th. The inspection is part of our new partnership with the Sheriff’s Watch Program, formerly known as the Multi-Family Crime Free Program. This is a mandatory inspection for the community. We will be unable to schedule appointments or come back at a later time/date.
“Apartments will be randomly selected by the officer associated with the community when they arrive onsite. We anticipate inspections will be completed between noon and 5:00pm. A member of our onsite management team will accompany the officer when entering the apartment. Access to the entire apartment home will be required.
“We appreciate your patience and cooperation while we work to continually enhance the community. We value your residency at Pickwick Flats.”
In lease agreements, apartment complexes do have the right to enter your home — usually with notice.
We reached out to civil rights attorney John Phillips about the notice, and he said, “That seems terribly unconstitutional.”
At noon, we did see two JSO officers arrive at the complex. They went to the office and were there for about a half-hour. We did not see them go to any apartments and conduct an inspection.
We reached out to JSO and received the following statement:
“The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been made aware of a notice placed on apartment doors by a local management company. The notice indicates that officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will be entering apartments to conduct random searches. This flyer was authored and distributed by the apartment complex management and is entirely inaccurate.
“As part of JSO’s Sheriff’s Watch Program, officers partner with local apartment complexes who agree to participate in annual safety inspections. The purpose of these inspections is to check things such as windows and door locks. If an apartment is occupied, the inspection must be consented to by the tenant. At no point do officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office enter apartments without the tenants consent nor do officers conduct a search of the apartment during the voluntary safety inspection.
“For more information on the Sheriff’s Watch Programs, please visit www.jaxsheriff.org - JaxSheriff.org.”