Recently I received some great information from a legal NCO that provided some interesting information concerning inspection of quarters or housing off base. This information compelled me to modify my previous post on the subject. Here is the foundation of his comment:
I would caution about giving the impression that the command can “at will” inspect a Soldiers on or off post housing. The command must have permission of the Soldier or spouse to enter the home.
The command can ask to enter, but if the Soldier says no, they can not force their way in to inspect. Some ways to work this issue is that if the Soldier is living in on base housing, then the command requests the housing authority do an informed inspection of the premisis. This is usually in the contract with the housing authority that they can come in and inspect the quarters after giving 24 hour notice.
The command can then accompany the housing authority to the residence.
If the Soldier is living off-base, then the same can be attempted through the rental property management. Most rental managers will support such a request to protect their interests.
If the Soldier is purchasing a residence off-base it is more difficult to inspect if the Soldier will not give permission. Then access has to be for just cause and coordinated through the local authorities/courts.
I greatly appreciate the valuable information this leader provided and wanted to share it with all of you. While my original post stated you needed to make sure you comply with all legal standards and seek advise from senior members of the chain of command in each situation. I believe the information provided by this legal NCO is more specific and answers the question in a more informative way. Bottom-line if you are having an issue with a Soldier in quarters or living off post I would encourage you to seek legal advice before proceeding. As you do not have authority to force your way into a Soldier’s home.
Thanks for helping us clarify the issue!