What many Americans don’t realize, is that census workers — from the head of the Bureau and the Secretary of Commerce (its parent agency) down to the lowliest and newest Census employee — are empowered under federal law to actually demand access to any apartment or any other type of home or room that is rented out, in order to count persons in the abode and for “the collection of statistics.” If the landlord of such apartment or other leased premises refuses to grant the government worker access to your living quarters, whether you are present or not, the landlord can be fined $500.00.
What I find interesting is there’s a couple problems here. In Washington at least the Landlord Tenant act says the landlord may not enter the premises without 48 hours advanced notification. Further the census website says the following:
Note that the census taker will never ask to enter your home
That is straight off the website verbatim. If you have had a landlord allow a census worker into your home I highly suggest you contact an attorney immediately as well as conduct an audit of all valuables and identity information. Census workers are NOT to be allowed in homes to conduct survey information. It is a violation of the 4th amendment as is constitutes a search by a government entity. Many states have similar laws to Washington’s Landlord Tenant Act. If you are a landlord and allowed someone claiming to be from the census into a property, contact your tenant and law enforcement immediately.
The bottom line is that census takers are only allowed to question people. If you fail to respond they can ask your landlord how many people are residing in the residence. No entry is allowed or is necessary. All information can be acquired from neighbors that is necessary for the Census. Again, my suggestion to landlords or tenants that have been affected by this is to contact an attorney immediately. FYI for landlord, come clean and contact law enforcement and an attorney, your tenant can probably put you into oblivion in civil suits. You can probably make a case that is was due to duress of someone pretending to be acting from the government. If you fail to come clean after reading this, it’s on you. Census.gov even states they are not to enter the premises.
Anyone desiring access to a residence should be assumed to NOT be a census worker but someone looking for stuff to steal. Your condition meter should transition to “Orange” immediately upon someone approaching and asking; claims to authority or not. As my dad always said, “Challenge Everything.”
Had a question come through, landlords must provide access to non-living spaces where privacy is not expected. A prime example of this is a gated community or an apartment building where the front door is locked but there are common hallways. Basically a way to look at it is they are exempt from efforts to keep solicitors out. Access is to be allowed to the entrance of the residence. The full law is as follows:
Whoever, being the owner, proprietor, manager, superintendent, or
agent of any hotel, apartment house, boarding or lodging house,
tenement, or other building, refuses or willfully neglects, when
requested by the Secretary or by any other officer or employee of
the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof, acting
under the instructions of the Secretary, to furnish the names of
the occupants of such premises, or to give free ingress thereto and
egress therefrom to any duly accredited representative of such
Department or bureau or agency thereof, so as to permit the
collection of statistics with respect to any census provided for in
subchapters I and II of chapter 5 of this title, or any survey
authorized by subchapter IV or V of such chapter insofar as such
survey relates to any of the subjects for which censuses are
provided by such subchapters I and II, including, when relevant to
the census or survey being taken or made, the proper and correct
enumeration of all persons having their usual place of abode in
such premises, shall be fined not more than $500.
To surmise it, as I did above for landlords, provide the number of occupants or allow them to go door to door. Do not allow them into private living spaces.
Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.
He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.