I have a 6 foot wooden fence around my backyard that is locked with a padlock. Today I was cited by the city for violating the city code by "having rubbish on the property." When I called to ask them what they were talking about they referred to an old table I have in my backyard. They couldn't have even seen this table without climbing on something to look over my fence. The city code sites it is unlawful to having rubbish, weeds or anything unsightly on the property, but where is my expectation of a certain amount of privacy in my own backyard?
State/Country relating to Question: Texas
I will move the table, but I feel violated anyway. If they are looking over that fence they are also able to look into my kitchen windows.
Sadly the case law in such matters gives you very limited protection from this type of intrusion. You have no right to an "expectation of privacy" once you leave your home. The city or county can fly over your property (and probably do) looking for un-permitted pools, extensions, fences, etc. What they cannot do is train a camera to the inside of the house. You do have a "certain amount"of privacy in your yard, but it is not much.
Thank you for your answer. I just find the entire thing rather fascinating. The neighbor can dump garbage in the alley on a regular basis, but I can't keep a wooden table in my own yard.
23 years as attorney NY and FL Bars.
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