Sex Offender

21 Replies

I have a tenant applicant for my duplex unit that informed me that he is a registered sex offender. He says it is of the lesser variety 7 yrs. ago and it will be off his record after 10 yrs. I am not very up to date on this offense and what impact it has on renting to him.

Am I liable if there is a sex offense committed by this individual? Do I have to inform the neighborhood or will I have to inform the next door unit that I have rented to a sex offender? When I have to re-rent the next door unit will I have to inform them that there is a sex offender in that unit?

Does anyone have experience with this offense and perhaps accepting a sex offender as a tenant?

Not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

IF you're even going to consider this guy, get up to date on the sex offender laws and rules, like how far they have to be away from a school. Don't take his word for anything. Independantly check and verify everything, not just the laws, but his particular offense as well.

I've always had the policy of turning away those convicted of violent crimes, which to me, includes sex offenses. In general, those convicted of a felony are not protected under fair housing laws, but, be sure in your locality.

I don't think you are required to disclose the sex offender status, but again, check with your local laws. Most guidance I've seen suggests referring anyone asking about sex offenders to check with the national sex offender registry.

http://www.nsopw.gov/Core/OffenderSearchCriteria.aspx

IMHO, just say no.

Thanks Ralph S. , that is the website that I needed to see. My applicant was on it but did not appear in the specific lists like "violent offenders", etc. I wish I could see the exact circumstance and assess the seriousness of the crime. I will have to assume the worse I suppose without more info. Your link and your information has been exceptionally helpful.

ABSOLUTELY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES will I accept sex offenders. I don't care how long its been or how "non-violent" they say they are. They are scum.

Wait til the neighbors find out you've rented to one of them. Or see how hard your other units are to rent. DO NOT do it. I would rather have it vacant for six months then have THAT in there!!

What if that were your son or daughter they did that to? Would you rent to them still?

People get put on the sex offender register for totally non violent, consentual sex acts if found to be in public places, etc.

I know someone who got put on the list for having sex with their girlfriend in the bathroom of a nightclub.

Well I personally am of the basic philosophy that if they've paid their debt to society then what right do I have to hold it against them.

Now I do balance this with business liability. In my multi-dwellings I would not rent to a registered sex offender. In a single family home I don't have much of an issue, depending on their case. I always prefer them to still be on probation or parole. This insures that they will be keeping a job so the rent gets paid.

The circumstances of the case do make a difference to me. I used to have a guy working for me that when he was a senior in high school he had consensual sex with a freshman at a party. Her dad didn't appreciate that and the DA ended up pressing charges against him. He screwed off his probation and went to prison for six years for it. Now he's a registered sex offender for the rest of his life. Would I rent to him? ABSOLUTELY. Would I mind if he lived next door to me and played with my kids? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Not to say that there aren't people among us who have done some despicable things, but I think grouping them all together is a mistake.

While I agree with Norm's points, for me, being a LL is less a moral responsibility and more one of mitigating risk. Your considering a sex offender carries with it certain risks that I would not ever consider.

When you start "splitting hairs" and put yourself in a position of judge in determining degrees of acceptance or denial, you assume risk. Doesn't matter if it's sex offenses, drugs, violent crimes, pets, smoking or anything else.

Accepting some and not others, you will ultimately be challenged by someone claiming descrimination against a protected class, and your acceptance of another and not them is just evidence that you're real reason is something else.

It'll happen. Only a matter of time.

In this particular case, as Norm points out, you're risk also includes risk to your reputation and ability to attract a higher quality tenant. Birds of a Feather (tenants with similar criminal convictions or evictions, or whatever) will flock to a landlord who has displayed willingness to rent to those with their particular flaw, simply because so many others will not. Rent to a convicted drug dealer, and word gets out. Doesn't matter what level of crime you are willing to accept. Let one in and others will follow.

My policies are simple. No pets. Smoking ok. No violent crime (convictions - including sex crimes). No illegal drug convictions. No evictions. No exceptions. Simple and easily understood. No gray areas, no decisions or evaluations on my part.

There are better tenants out there. Just say no.

Originally posted by Norm Chrostowski:
ABSOLUTELY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES will I accept sex offenders. I don't care how long its been or how "non-violent" they say they are. They are scum.

Wait til the neighbors find out you've rented to one of them. Or see how hard your other units are to rent. DO NOT do it. I would rather have it vacant for six months then have THAT in there!!

What if that were your son or daughter they did that to? Would you rent to them still?


I gotta agree with Norn....NO freakin way! Look for another applicant!!!!!!!!!

Again, Not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

Not in my place. My criteria says no felons.

I can't read the future and I can't read minds, so I can't judge who will re-offend and who isn't really such a bad guy for a rapist or pedophile.

Just say no.

As for you Ryan, it is not possible to have consentual sex with a 13 year old girl, and if you think it is perfectly OK for an adult to have sex with a drunk 13 year old girl, I'm not renting to you, either. Her father was "upset". Yeah, no sh*t. Your employee was lucky her father didn't kill him.

Every male in this country, no exception, KNOWS that it is rape to have sex with an underage girl. It's deliberately breaking the law, for a start, and scoff laws tend to not be good tenants.

No, I won't rent to them.

James I would like to know the ages of those two? Adults don't get put on a sex offends list for doing "the nasty" in a bathroom. Public ludeness or some other charge...maybe.

A sexual offender is a sexual offender. There is no gray area IMO. You did it, knowingly, and got caught. Now deal with it. Maybe you'll make better judgements/decisions next time.

Ryan...not only did he do "the deed" with a minor, he screwed up his probation and went to jail?? Not very bright on either account. Not only would I not rent to him, I wouldn't hire him as an employee either. I would think hiring someone with some sort of brains is the best choice. He certainly seems like he's lacking in that area.

Originally posted by Norm Chrostowski:
ABSOLUTELY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES will I accept sex offenders. I don't care how long its been or how "non-violent" they say they are. They are scum.

Wait til the neighbors find out you've rented to one of them. Or see how hard your other units are to rent. DO NOT do it. I would rather have it vacant for six months then have THAT in there!!

What if that were your son or daughter they did that to? Would you rent to them still?


Noam, I accepted a guy in his early 30s who, at the age of 21 or 22, knocked up a 17 year old he met at a bar. (Now, given that the age is 21, wouldn't you feel a bit better about someone you meet in a bar being of age?) The fellow is now married with two kids of his own and observed that jail meant less to him than having to keep up after a daughter of his own! He's also been employed since his release (4 or 5 years, I forget) at the same job with promotions and a steady income. An he's been paying child support and is a part of the kid's life.

Non-consentual offenses, no way. That sort of crap doesn't need to be living near any of my tenants and their children.

Consentual offenses? I'm not automatically going to say no. The guy above is a HUGE exception to the rule, as this was a night of drunken stupidity that got him into a WORLD of trouble. But should he be lumped in with the dirty white van driving child molester? I'd say not.

Mike

Mike, no offense, but are these the facts FOR SURE? If so, how do you know? Did you pull the police reports or court proceeding? Or is this what you were told?

I am by no means MikeOH, not even close. But, I have been a landlord since 1994, and I find most tenants lie about something, at some time in our tenant/landlord relationship. Most of time these individuals will downplay or suger coat what really happened.

Not to be vain, but in my younger "bar" days, I would get more "A$$ than a toilet seat". Every weekend, a different girl, a different bar (this was before the aids thing thank god...lol)...hmmm, and thats never happened to me?

For me, I will not rent to them. Period! There's a lot of other people without sex offender status that can be accepted as tenants. I will stick with them. Too many "what ifs" with the others.


PNW, she actually was 15 and neither of them were drinking. He was 19 when he screwed off his probation and went to prison, which when I think back to when I was 19 I don't think most people are very bright. Either way he worked for me for almost 5 years and was an excellent employee.

I rented to a guy that was a registered sex offender because when he was 17 a 15 year old girl gave him consensual oral sex at a park in his truck. He was 21 and on probation for 6 more years and had to register for the rest of his life. I talked to his probation officer to verify.

Norm, you are absolutely wrong. Adults do get put on it for doing the nasty in a bathroom. The "sex offender" craze has a lot of people on the list for some inappropriate but hardly child threatening offenses. I think it actually takes away from the effectiveness of the registry but right now that's how it is. I think you have to factor in that 30 years ago nobody really cared about people having sex in the bathroom, but now it can get you lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Ralph, I don't foresee sex offenders becoming a protected class anytime soon so I feel confident about legally discriminating against some of them based on their cases. I also haven't had any issues with flocks of druggies or pedophiles trying to rent from me so I don't think the slippery slope argument is valid here.

Ralph, I don't foresee sex offenders becoming a protected class anytime soon so I feel confident about legally discriminating against some of them based on their cases. I also haven't had any issues with flocks of druggies or pedophiles trying to rent from me so I don't think the slippery slope argument is valid here.

Advertise pet friendly, and soon the yappy dogs and poop on the lawn will frustrate and drive out the non-pet owners and all you'll have is pet owners. Granted, apartment dwelling is not a SFR and I would agree that one is more suited to pets, but it's just nature that renting to anyone that is legally descriminated against by others (smokers, pets, whatever) will attract those simply through supply and demand.

And, no, it won't be a flood of applicants, unless you advertise "pedophiles and drug dealers ok!" It happens over time.

I know, too, that there are exceptions to every rule. I'm sure there are some very good people listed as sex offenders or have drug dealing convictions that were either poorly represented, prosecuted by an over zealous prosecutor or have truely changed for the better. I simply choose to not to put myself in the position of judging degrees of what I will or will not accept in these categories. Just a risk I don't want to take.

I understand your reservations, Ralph, and I share them with multi-dwellings. I guess overall I'm softer than most on giving people second chances if I feel it merits it.

Originally posted by @Trisha Bozarth :

Is there a specific guideline as far as so many feet from school or church or park? When you talk about renting to a sex offender? If so where could I get the laws for my state?

Google "sex offender legal distances" to come up to speed in general and then talk to your lawyer to deal with the specifics.

I was told by a property broker once that adult businesses usually have legal distance requirements and that only a small percentage of addresses could meet all of the requirements.  Property that can qualify are considered valuable islands by those commercial tenants who need them.

Landlords are neither social workers or psychiatrists.  Set your screening standards broadly and stick to them.

If you do not allow criminals you should not be analysing them on a individual bases. If they have a record keep looking till you find a qualified candidate.

Never work at forcing a unqualified applicant to qualify.