“Can evidence be used against me when it was discovered through a search of my apartment where police obtained consent from my landlord?”

 

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In New York, and every other state, the person consenting to the search must have either actual or apparent authority to consent to the search. A tenant, for example, has actual authority to consent to a search of his apartment. In the case of apparent authority, circumstance must indicate that party has some authority over the premises. A New York court, for example, would likely find a person has apparent authority where, despite not being the tenant of the property, he or she has a key or regularly sleeps over to the point that no permission is even necessary.
In the case of a landlord consenting to the search of tenant’s apartment, the evidence obtained will likely not be admissible. This is particularly likely where the tenant had no knowledge of the search and gave no indication that such a search would be acceptable. Whenever a landlord consents to a police search, it is likely to be challenged simply because United States Supreme Court precedent clearly states that a landlord may not consent to the search of a tenant’s apartment. In fact, in another case, the Supreme Court also ruled that a motel owner may not consent to the search of a guest’s room tenant’s property, and finally, in another case, the Supreme Court ruled an employer may not consent to the search of an employee’s private storage area.

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