Renting to sex offender

19 Replies

I am in the process of screening a potential tenant, he told me he had a felony from 15 years, he offered to explain but I didn't wanna push unless necessary. After doing a background check on him I found out he is registered as a sex offender for "lewd conduct with a minor."  

My question is, he's been clean for the past 15 years no criminal record before or after that incident, has now a fiance and has been living with her and her 2 children for the past 5 years, has a good income and good credit. I know it's a very personal question, but would you rent to someone like that?

That's tough to answer without knowing the details of what happened. I'm hoping it was just a "he was 18 she was 17" type thing because his fiancé is allowing him to live with her two kids in the house. But, I would imagine he'd be a pretty good tenant because I'm sure it's pretty difficult to find a place to rent being a sex offender. I don't personally think I would rent to him though because I wouldn't want to be known as the LL who rents to sex offenders.

Has the unit been vacant a while or do you have enough interest in it to maybe hold off for a good tenant who is not a sex offender?

I would get the story from him before making a decision. You should be able to confirm when you do his background check.

His fiance trusts him to be around her kids. That says a lot to me, as long as she is aware of his past.

Originally posted by @Daniel Suarez :

@Bjorn Ahlblad Good point, although I'm failing to see what the potential consequences could be, maybe I'm not thinking beyond what i saw. 

1. He offends again

2. A neighbor finds out he is living there with a simple online search and burns your house down

3 A neighbor tells the local news channel and they show your house on the nightly news 

4 A neighbor find out you are the owner with a simple online search and they begin harassing you and your family where you live. 

I’m sure I am missing a few more  

The problem arises when other tenants or neighbours find out he is a registered sex offender. Others do not care about the details. You will be judged for having rented to a offender and will be viewed as placing others in danger. There will be a reaction.

Thanks everyone for your responses. I also talked to a property manager in the area asking for advice. They said they accidentally rented to a sex offender, and got the neighbors harassing him all the time almost getting his lisence revoked. It's sad because because I feel people pay for their mistakes but can be held accountable for life even after living a normal life for more than 15 years. 

Can I just deny him on the sex offender account alone? or would that be discriminating?

If he offends again, you may be held liable. If your other tenants find out about it, they may feel unsafe and decide to leave and you would have to let them based on current law.

As with all renters, you have to identify your risk and then mitigate it. The rate of recidivism (likelihood of repeating a crime) is significantly high with sex offenders. It could be an issue where he was young and made a mistake while under the pressure of puberty, which may be a different story. If he were an adult, perpetrating a crime on a child under 12, I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. It's hard to say without knowing the details.

As an aside, the fact that he's living with a woman and her children today means nothing. Many women fall in love with sexual abusers because they seem completely normal (when not abusing).

In my opinion, you need a standard (eg. no felonies) that is written and followed consistently to avoid fair housing issues.  Our attorney is very clear about what we can and can not communicate related to criminal background and that is why self-managing can be a mine field when it comes to application qualification criteria.  As a management company, you avoid liability if you follow fair housing...not against being sued but against losing.

I know this post is a couple years old but i would say it depends on the situation. I have been married to my husband for 10 years we have 2 girls together and he has 2 adult girls and i have 2 teens all girls .but my husband got that title when he was 20 now he is 44 but i can tell you from my experience its been rough over the years cause people love to judge but forget how easily something like that could happen to themselves or there own kids .i am currently looking to find a place for my family cause the lady i rented from for 10 years decided to sell. Just cause you hear sex offender dont mean that he goes around messing with kids. So yea i would do background talk to that person and than decide. 

The answer is NO.  NEVER RENT TO SEX CRIMINAL.  Don't waste your time trying to explain or justify the applicant's behavior.  You're in business to make a reasonable profit without exposing yourself to liability.

I would say it depends as well. My husband got hit with being a sex offender while he was 19 and she was 16. It happened 11 years ago and it happened to be with his baby moms sister and she got mad and called the police as revenge. Just because someone messed up one time doesnt mean they have to be that label for the rest of their lives. He did his time and he got off parole and has no restrictions. My husband took on the father role to my 5 year old daughter. We both have jobs and we both are members of a church. He isnt a repeat offender and he isnt a predator either. I know its hard to look past but I feel like they should be able to explain their story and then the landlord should be able to make their decision. I dont think its fair to just say no. Theres girls out there screaming rape over a breakup and ruining peoples lives. 

Just curious - why would the landlord be held liable if a tenant commits a sex offense ? 
my ex tenant was picked up for smoking pot - I wasn’t held liable for that. 

Okay I know that this was posted a long time ago but what people are not seeing is this. Here are the facts about sex offenders.  In Arizona the amount of people that go back to prison is 85% or about. That is your drug dealers, murders, thief's, ect.  Now S.O. on the other hand are at 2%.  Yes 2% and most of those are NOT reoffenders it is a simple thing of being a day late to reregister (and yes they will send you back if you are a day late) The whole registration thing has NEVER prevented a sex crime from happening. The only that it has done has caused people do be harassed.  Most of the people that are in prison for a sex crime are a young guy that had sex with his gf that happened to be 17 or 16. Not this crazy stuff you see on TV.  90% of S.O. that are looking for rentals specially if it is a higher price like say $1,000 or more are serious people that are trying to rise above the muck and be a better person.