Would you buy an 8 unit with a sex offender as a tenant?

81 Replies

I was all set to make an offer on a 8 unit(4 modular duplexes) last Monday 'til I found out there was a sex offender in one of the units Sunday night. I looked up his court case and found out it was for 4-5 years of molestation of his girlfriend's daughter from the ages of 6 to 10. He appealed his sentencing and this quote came up in that case. "In addition, the trial court noted several other aggravating factors, including xxxxxx‟s failure to successfully complete probation, his pattern of physical abuse toward women, his history of substance abuse, evidence of multiple instances of molestation toward the victim, and his violation of a position of trust."

He was sentenced to 5 years, somehow he only served 1 and got out. The property manager tells my realtor on Monday that he told them it was a young girlfriend situation and that is why he is on the registry, I told them that it was bull and the real reason he was on there. The property manager says he has been a good tenant for 2 years and is now engaged and goes to classes and is trying to get his life back together.

His lease isn't up til February. I haven't seen his application and see if he lied on it when talking about the sex offender status or he just told "his story" to the property manager and there isn't a record of him lying.

It is currently bank-owned and we asked the bank if they would consider an offer contingent on them removing him before closing but they got back to us today saying they would not.  So here I am now.   

Wow, that's a tough one. I'd talk to a lawyer to see what your liability is if he were to molest another child in your complex. I know we, as landlords, aren't the police, but I'm not sure I could live with myself if it happened on my watch. Are there children in the other units? Let us know what you decide and any info you learn. I'd have to guess you're not on the hook liability-wise but still...yuck. 

Personally it wouldn't stop me form buying it but I'd give him the required notice to terminate his lease in January and have him out in Feb as soon as the lease is up.   I wouldn't approve an app with those type of charges and having an offender like that will make it hard to attract and keep quality tenants.   It's not a permanent issue so I don't see any reason why it would stop you from making an offer. 

Originally posted by @Troy S.:

Wow, that's a tough one. I'd talk to a lawyer to see what your liability is if he were to molest another child in your complex. I know we, as landlords, aren't the police, but I'm not sure I could live with myself if it happened on my watch. Are there children in the other units? Let us know what you decide and any info you learn. I'd have to guess you're not on the hook liability-wise but still...yuck. 

 There are children in the complex.  The day I looked at it, I actually seen the guy.  A young girl was around him and they were looking at a kitten.

Originally posted by @Matt Sterling :

I was all set to make an offer on a 8 unit(4 modular duplexes) last Monday 'til I found out there was a sex offender in one of the units Sunday night.  I looked up his court case and found out it was for 4-5 years of molestation of his girlfriend's daughter from the ages of 6 to 10.  He appealed his sentencing and this quote came up in that case.  "In addition, the trial court noted several other aggravating factors, including xxxxxx‟s failure to successfully complete probation, his pattern of physical abuse toward women, his history of substance abuse, evidence of multiple instances of molestation toward the victim, and his violation of a position of trust."

He was sentenced to 5 years, somehow he only served 1 and got out.  The property manager tells my realtor on Monday that he told them it was a young girlfriend situation and that is why he is on the registry, I told them that it was bull and the real reason he was on there.  The property manager says he has been a good tenant for 2 years and is now engaged and goes to classes and is trying to get his life back together.  

His lease isn't up til February.  I haven't seen his application and see if he lied on it when talking about the sex offender status or he just told "his story" to the property manager and there isn't a record of him lying. 

It is currently bank-owned and we asked the bank if they would consider an offer contingent on them removing him before closing but they got back to us today saying they would not.  So here I am now.   

 When you take over a building, all tenants sign a new lease. Simply do not renew his lease and tell him that they have 60 days to go.

No I would not allow a sex offender to stay in my units.

Originally posted by @Anthony Gayden :

 When you take over a building, all tenants sign a new lease. Simply do not renew his lease and tell him that they have 60 days to go.

No I would not allow a sex offender to stay in my units.

It doesn't work like that. You have to honor existing leases. Thankfully this guy is only in there till February but, until then, he's your problem. If he's 6 months into a 2 year lease, he's your problem for another 18 months.  

I would think I would have to have one demographic target or the other.  If I were going to have a sex offender in my building with this kind of background, I absolutely could not in good conscience have any tenants that had daughters living with them that were minors. 

From a business standpoint, if my units had 2 or more bedrooms, that would mean I wouldn't rent to the sex offenders, as I would have a larger tenant pool if I included those with children.  1BR and studios, I would tend to rent to the sex offender, although with two daughters of my own, I might just skip out on this character altogether.

He'll more than likely reoffend. These monsters do not change. When he does, if I in any way facilitated it, ie provided him housing in a complex where his preferred victim profile lives ( the child you mentioned), I'd be devastated. It's not even a business decision for me. He's out as soon as I can legally kick him. I'd also check with PD- he's required to register his address, to confirm if being around kids is permitted. It's forbidden for most registrants of his ilk.

I would buy the property and not renew his lease. Or review his lease contract and search for a lie. Evict him based on fraudulent information provided at contract origination.  But your right- get him out as soon as possible: he is a serious liability to your business performance 

Originally posted by @Matt Sterling :
Originally posted by @Troy S.:

...

 There are children in the complex.  The day I looked at it, I actually seen the guy.  A young girl was around him and they were looking at a kitten.

Do you know if the sex offender lived there first, or the tenant with child? Because if sex offender was first, that shows some people don't even check for that. If the girl's parent was first, she might not be allowed near him if the parents knew. 

Originally posted by @Jon Behlke :

I would think I would have to have one demographic target or the other.  If I were going to have a sex offender in my building with this kind of background, I absolutely could not in good conscience have any tenants that had daughters living with them that were minors. 

...

Gender of the victim is irrelevant. Pedophile sex offenders make boys their victims too. 

Originally posted by @Troy S.:
Originally posted by @Anthony Gayden:

 When you take over a building, all tenants sign a new lease. Simply do not renew his lease and tell him that they have 60 days to go.

No I would not allow a sex offender to stay in my units.

It doesn't work like that. You have to honor existing leases. Thankfully this guy is only in there till February but, until then, he's your problem. If he's 6 months into a 2 year lease, he's your problem for another 18 months.  

 Maybe in Philadelphia, but I had all of my tenants here in AZ sign new leases and I believe you are required to give 60 day notice to vacate. I know because I had to kick out one tenant as soon as I bought the place. 

Just to spitball a possible alternative. If the numbers on the deal are solid, you may want to consider paying him to break his lease in some manner. Might not work, but if he is tight on funds it could be a less costly option then eviction if you even have grounds to evict in Indiana in the first place. 

Good luck though, this is one of those ugly things you have to deal with on occasion when you have your own business.

James

Originally posted by @Steve Babiak :
Originally posted by @Matt Sterling:
Originally posted by @Troy S.:

...

 There are children in the complex.  The day I looked at it, I actually seen the guy.  A young girl was around him and they were looking at a kitten.

Do you know if the sex offender lived there first, or the tenant with child? Because if sex offender was first, that shows some people don't even check for that. If the girl's parent was first, she might not be allowed near him if the parents knew. 

 I don't know, it's completely possible that this girl was his new fiance's daughter.  

What about playing it slow and hopefully getting closer to Feb? My realtor is also the listing agent, I assume he can legally tell me when there is another offer and maybe I could make an offer at that time.

@Matt Sterling

Honest question for you, and you don't have to answer it publicly, but it's more of something for you to think about.

Apparently the seller is clearly ok with this sex offender renting here.  Is your conscience really any more/less clear if this man commits another crime between now and February?  What if, upon further investigation, you found a way to get him out before February, or even found a creative way to have him leave of his own accord, (paying him to leave, neighborhood pressure to leave, etc.) but you chose to wait as long as possible in order to have a "clear conscience?" 

I think if I were in your shoes, which I clearly am not, I would move on this property if the numbers make sense, knowing that I would do more to attempt to protect those other tenants than the current landlord is willing to do.

Of the numbers make sense but it, it's always easier to find another tenant than to find another profitable property. I thought sex offenders are not allowed to be near children? Is that something you can use to have him removed? Regardless of who was there first, isn't it the responsibility of the sex offender to inform everyone near him of his status and in not doing so constitute a violation? I'm sure that he's on probation for being released early, I would look at that more carefully.
Originally posted by @Sandy Salazar :
Of the numbers make sense but it, it's always easier to find another tenant than to find another profitable property.

I thought sex offenders are not allowed to be near children? Is that something you can use to have him removed? Regardless of who was there first, isn't it the responsibility of the sex offender to inform everyone near him of his status and in not doing so constitute a violation? I'm sure that he's on probation for being released early, I would look at that more carefully.

 He has registered and I was told he is completely compliant in regards to the law. 

Originally posted by @Jon Behlke :

@Matt Sterling

Honest question for you, and you don't have to answer it publicly, but it's more of something for you to think about.

Apparently the seller is clearly ok with this sex offender renting here.  Is your conscience really any more/less clear if this man commits another crime between now and February?  What if, upon further investigation, you found a way to get him out before February, or even found a creative way to have him leave of his own accord, (paying him to leave, neighborhood pressure to leave, etc.) but you chose to wait as long as possible in order to have a "clear conscience?" 

I think if I were in your shoes, which I clearly am not, I would move on this property if the numbers make sense, knowing that I would do more to attempt to protect those other tenants than the current landlord is willing to do.

 Yeah I don't know. I guess if I did buy it, it's not like I'm enabling him.  Even if I got him out, he is still just as likely to re-offend wherever he goes as he would on my property.  It's not like I'm doing the public much of a service in the grand scheme of things, he is just someone else's problem.  I'm must pretty sure I would feel way worse if it was going on on my property rather than it happening a mile away on someone else's.   

Talk to an attorney and see what you can legally do to remove him. Find out what your liabilities are regarding informing the existing tenants of his registry. Unfortunately, not all renters check that information, some don't even know they can or know how to look up that info. Maybe offer him money to break his lease early, maybe it's your responsibility to notify the other tenants of his status. I believe in second chances but not when it comes to hurting children or anyone for that matter. Good luck and thank you for trying to do the right thing. I have a 3 year old daughter and reading the part where they were looking at a kitten made my stomach turn.

Clearly you didn't create this problem but only a knowledgeable attorney can tell you how much liability you will inherit.  It may be zero or it may be substantial.  For example, if the law or judicial precedent in your state puts an obligation on landlords to disclose the felon's status to all the other tenants and if the current owner didn't do it and you fail to do so upon taking over you likely have substantial liability.  If you do disclose, you may lose tenants and/or prospective tenants or have other tenant problems related to the issue.  You must get good legal advice on this before you close (i.e., if you can't get the advice prior to acceptance of an offer, have it be a contingency).

If you don't mind the potential of losing the property to another buyer, you can wait to make an offer closer to when the tenant's lease is up.  

A better alternative may be to offer now with a closing set closer to the end of the tenant's lease and some good inspection contingencies close to the date of closing.  This has some risks related to property condition and how the current tenants are dealt with in the interim that have to be accounted for in the contract.  

Another possibility (if your attorney approves) is to close as quickly as any other deal but immediately upon closing give the tenant notice that his lease will not be renewed and give him some incentives to leave early (cash for keys, (if it is true) the understanding that now is an easier time to find a unit and move (no snow, etc.), suggesting that SF may be easier to lease than a multi-unit, etc.).  If you have to tell the other tenants (i.e., they don't already know) at least you can also tell them that the sex offender's lease will not be renewed (if that doesn't violate any of his privacy rights) and you have given him incentives to move earlier.