Can I inspect a Soldier’s quarters or off post housing for health and welfare? | - Leader Development for Army Professionals
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Can I inspect a Soldier’s quarters or off post housing for health and welfare?

I do weekly (at least) barracks inspections. While I was out doing my run, i decided to pop in and see one of my Soldiers who lives on post. He's a young E4 with a wife and two kids. He allowed me in his home and we talked for a few minutes. While I was there, I noticed that his house was filthy. I politely mentioned this to him. I brought it to the attention of my E6. He came with me to visit the Soldier the following week. The house was still a mess. We sat him down and spoke to him about it. We then paid another visit today. He had notice and time to prepare for us. Conditions were better, but still bad. Now my question is this: Do we have the right to counsel and punish (if deemed necessary) for this? Or is a Soldier's house off-limits to the reach of their leaders? I've been searching and having a hard time finding any solid information on this. I don't want to see this situation blow up and have him go to JAG and sink everyone involved because we were trying to help him.

Revised: Post.

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.

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posted on 12/09/2011 under Q&A
Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training..

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