Keeping Sex Offenders From Your Business and Tenants

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Perverts' paradise by dickobrien

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You don’t want a newspaper story like this about your properties.

I was annoyed at first, but I understood the woman‘s position.  If I had been in her shoes, I would have done exactly the same thing.  “I’m sorry to have to back out,” she said.  “I have young children and I found out that the apartment is in a neighborhood with a lot of sex criminals.”

I have young children myself, and I don’t want them living near sex criminals.  Actually, I’d really like to take all these perverts on a one-way boat ride.  But since that’s not practical, I’ll settle for not having any sexual predators living in my neighborhood – or in the neighborhoods of my apartment buildings – and certainly not in the buildings themselves.  Keeping the sex offenders out is one way of protecting my tenants and my business.  It should be on your mind too.

Your Goals In Dealing With Sex Offenders

We have four goals in dealing with sex offenders.  The first is to know who they are in the neighborhood of our properties.  The second is to keep them out of our properties to the extent possible.  The third is to keep them out of our neighborhood.  The fourth is to avoid any legal action in connection with sex offenders.

The first step is to find out who your local sex offenders are.  Sex offender registries are authorized through three federal laws; the Jacob Wetterling Act of 1994, Megan’s Law of 1996, and the Adam Walsh Act of 2006.  These laws required state sex offender registries, required states to make their information available to the public, created the three-tier system for seriousness of sexual crimes and created a national offender registry – however, the national offender registry has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

You can find your local sex offender registry by Googling your state name and “sex offender registry.”  The registries don’t work the same way, so finding what you want can be tricky.  Most do not allow you to see all offenders because Megan’s Law did not require this.  In addition, you may not be able to search through entire cities.

I do have that ability in New Hampshire, but if you live in a state that does not allow citywide searches – Nevada comes to mind – search for all the streets around your property.  In my case, I found three local offenders living within a half mile of one property.  However, offenders in the sex offender registry may move around, and so you will need to recheck from time to time.

In most states, you have the right to reject sex offenders from your properties because of their criminal history.  A criminal background check will reveal any past crimes.  Be careful here because your prospective tenant may be the perfectly innocent and upstanding “John Smith,” not the one with three rape convictions.

Extra Hassle For California Landlords

However, in California, Megan’s Law (which is implemented by each state in its own way) prevents landlords from rejecting prospective tenants only because they are registered sex offenders.  This puts California landlords in a terrible jam because they may also face legal action (or loss of business, in any case) from other tenants who don’t want to live in a property with a sex offender.  I don’t know of any other state which does this.  There have been numerous attempts to clarify the law to give landlords more protection.

Anywhere else in the country, sex offenders may also be part of a protected class if they have a related disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act – for example, if they are recovering alcoholics or drug addicts.  Generally, however, you can still reject these offenders if you do not have a history of rejecting other disabled prospective tenants.

Keeping sex offenders out of your neighborhood is more difficult.  As noted, sex offenders move around, so buying properties that aren’t in an “infested” neighborhood is no protection.  However, there are some areas where sex offenders are banned from living for other reasons.  It may be that your state or community prohibits sex offenders from living near schools.  In those cases, properties near schools will probably be a safe bet.

Entire communities have tried banning sex offenders in the past, but those laws have generally been rejected by the courts.

Depending on your state, you may have a Megan’s Law requirement to provide information about the availability of the state sex offender database.  I don’t believe there are any states that require you to notify prospective tenants or tenants about specific sex offenders, however.

If you do have sex offenders living in or near your properties, and your existing tenants find out about it, they may try to break the lease.  Generally they will not be able to do so.  In the real world, however, their efforts will still cost you a lot of time and aggravation, and may land you in the paper as “the guy with the sex offender living in his building.”  This will obviously make your property much less desirable for new tenants.

If The Worst Happens

Finally, suppose the worst happens – the offender attacks someone in your property.   What are your legal ramifications?  Landlords have been successfully sued because a tenant living in their property, or a handyman or contractor working on the property, attacked another tenant.  I don’t know of any lawsuits where a tenant successfully sued because of an attack from a neighbor (someone not living on the property).  Generally speaking, then, if you are do your best to not bring in tenants or hire workers who are registered sex offenders, you will be safe from these kinds of lawsuits.

 

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20 Comments

  1. First, let me get this out. I am totally against ANY form of abuse to any human being. And I believe anyone who murders another human being should be in prison for the rest of their life (until they die). I do not believe in the death penalty for anyone. Also, I believe that once a person has been in and out of prison and has served their probation and parole, done everything required of them, and what was signed on the “contract” when they took the plea, none of this should be required of them, none of it. The state cannot tear up a contract like this, which they are basically doing, it’s unconstitutional. Many people, if they had known they would be faced with all this, they would have NOT taken a plea deal. And the courts are very aware of this and this is why they made it retroactive; thus violating ex-post facto laws! They should be allowed to get on with their life as if nothing happened. I’m not saying for it to be removed from their record, but, the crime should be removed from public view and background checks, they should not have any more restrictions, shaming, etc. If they commit another crime, then they face a lot more punishment, like everything else is treated.

    When are we going to move away from being “TOUGH ON CRIME” and move to being “SMART ON CRIME?” If you locked every single sex offender up, at this moment, or killed every one of them, do you think the problem is over? No, more will follow.

    I’ve heard many people say “If these laws protect one child, then they are worth it!” And at the same time, if millions are tortured, it’s ok. Offenders are losing their homes, jobs, families, and children and cannot find new jobs or homes due to the insanity of these laws. The families are also made into outcasts for associating with or being related to an ex-offender and their own children are harassed and bullied at schools due to a family member being an ex-offender.

    I know these laws are a sensitive issue, but as all issues, they must be discussed and we must come up with a valid solution that will work. The laws, as they exist now, DO NOT WORK! People are always saying they cause unintended consequences. These laws have been on the books for years now, so nothing is unintended anymore. When are we going to set aside fear, hate, rage and anger and come up with a real solution? History has proven that these feelings NEVER get good laws passed but only create bad ones that punish and torture many people. These knee-jerk reactions to a slim number of high-profile crimes, like Adam Walsh and Jessica Lunsford, MUST STOP!

    When an ex-offender is forced to move from his/her home, thus having to sell it, cannot find another home within the law due to the residency “buffer” zones, get fired from their jobs due to being on the registry, cannot find a new job due to being on the registry, their husband/wife lose their jobs due to a significant other being on the registry, their children lose their friends and are harassed and bullied in school due to a family member being on the registry, thus destroying the children’s lives, ex-offenders are forced into homelessness and to live under bridges, harassed by police, neighbors and probation/parole officers, have to wear “I’m a sex offender T-shirt” or have a neon green license plate on ALL their cars, have “sex offender” on their drivers license and forced to renew their licenses every year, forced from shelters during tornadoes or hurricanes, cannot give blood at some places due to being discriminated against for being on the sex offender registry, denied housing due to being on the registry, signs placed in their yards inviting harassment and ridicule from the neighbors, forced to move when the neighbors start picketing outside the ex-offenders home, the list is endless.

    I THINK THIS IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, BEYOND THE EXTREME!

    • brendalee perryman on

      that is really, the most uninformed comment i think i have heard in years!you sir should do a little research.. personally ..i am sure if you met and talked with victims , their families,, and informed shrinks, you would have a different view…especially if you had someone in your own family suffering..these children who they abuse lives will never be the same..why should the abusers life be? these people are never,ever reformed!there is no cure..your ideas are perfectly sound for most crimes,…but not the child molester /rapist..

  2. When I was in the apartment industry, a felony conviction was enough to earn an application an automatic “decline.” Most “sex offenses” are felonies, are they not? All you have to do is apply the rule to other ex-felons as well.

    Don’t get me wrong, if we really think these people are an ongoing menace to society, we shouldn’t release them at all. Ever. But then we would have to have a very uncomfortable public discussion about “what is a sex crime.”

  3. What will you do, then, if one of your current tenants becomes a sex offender? Or one of their children becomes a sex offender? Children as young as 8 are on the registry in some states.
    Keep in mind that 90% of all new sex offenses are committed by someone not yet on the registry.
    Many are committed by minors, such as streaking or consentual teen sex.
    So…what then?

  4. I have bead news for all you [EDITED BY ADMIN] out there.
    I am a registered former sex offender and a multi-millionaire. And besides that, I’m wealthy in my own right and am skilled at investing money to make more.

    I am beginning in my state and buying up private daycare businesses and other “prohibited” properties so as to allow other registered former sex offenders more options as to where they can live and work.
    My companies are also actively seeking out registered former sex offenders and offering them jobs, and further education and counseling at greatly reduced prices or free.

    In MY America, a man (or woman) pays his debt to society and is afforded another chance.

    • You’re a sex offender and you’re buying up daycare businesses? Is that to spit in the eye of the man or so you can prey on children? Either way, that leaves me very disturbed.

      • What powerball winner probably meant was that he buys up those businesses and then puts them out of business. I don’t know where other people went with that one, but when you go where you went, I worry about society.

        To Powerball winner. God bless you. I hope that more people like you win the lottery and do the same thing. Use the money to make a good impact on those who have changed their lives and who want to stay victim free. Soemething that mainstream society does not understand. If they did, they would do everything in their power to help us stay victim free instead of hindering us and causing more problems for children in society. God bless you. I hope to be on your playing field one day. I try every Sat and Wed. Someday I will do what you do.

    • I have one thing to say to you powerball winner. RIGHT ON!!! God bless you for your efforts. My husband and I are doing similar things in our state and would really like to get in touch with you. Please let me know if this is possible.

  5. Keith Richard Radford Jr on

    Your thoughts are nice but far less than sound.
    England wants to force people to use rfid tracking on sex offenders in the US. Thank about the ramifications of such legislation. The UK paints a picture of the night life and the ID tracker as a fast way to get your drinks charged to your account, but which accounts would your local Bobby want to close. The ease at which the transponders can be cloned or hacked which sap will be stuck with the bill? Taking this across the pond to America where extremes”R”US people are making an effort to pass laws to exterminate people for sex crimes or make the sentences life time which will never work. See item number 160291198146 on eBay. Better buy a lot of them before someone finds out that there is a cure and this type of law can not be enacted. Sex really is a life and death study being conducted by increasingly hateful people jockeying for control over lives with lies about sex.
    http://i8.ebayimg.com/07/i/001/13/09/afaf_1.JPG
    Facts are facts and their is no legal way for Americans or any other nation to justify the use of law enforcement or any other religious structure to place any restrictions that include lifetime sentences regarding sex offenders. Provided one uses their thinking ability in any mentally sound manner at all the act of placing a printed sign [For sell] lying to the public, is a infraction of law. The use of unlawful information is not about sex, when advocates for the request includes breaking laws by asking for unlawful actions, swaying popular opinion of an uninformed public to believe these action are lawful when they will never be.

  6. SHAME ON YOU!
    Just get some people to knit big SO PATCHES with red yarn and let’s just have them wear these everywhere they go like they did to adulterers and Jews. It will save a lot of paper work but it will not prevent a single crime. Just picking one segment of society to ostracize is shameful!
    ROMANS 14:13
    “Let us not therefore judge one another any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

  7. Glad to see there’s a lot of sympathy for sex offenders out there. Actually, though, I’m really not. I am truly astounded by the comments I’ve seen, including the last one that compared me to a Nazi. Good for you B.

    Past performance is indeed an indicator of future results when applied to tenants. No sane landlord would knowingly rent to a tenant with a past history of damaging his apartments. Ditto to someone with a past history of committing sex crimes.

    So, memo to sex offenders and their advocates – you don’t want the reputation, don’t do the crime!

  8. It appears the writer of this artical did NOT do his home work. First of all the label sex offender does NOT = child molester. Second he has failed to relize that sex offenders have served their time. And having done so, accourding to Smith Vs Alaska they can not be punished any more. The sex offender registrys (SOR) were set up to be a point of information, not a tool to restrict were sex offenders can live, and in most cases were they work. Third sex offenses as reported by the US Dept. Of Justice; 90% of sexual assaults are commited by a person well known and trusted by the victim with over 50% of them being a family member. 95% of sexual assaults are commited by a person with NO prior arrest record. Sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates amoung all criminals with 3.5% of them reconvicted of a new sex crime within 3 years of release from prison. Now having said all of that I want to state that we the public are being taken for a ride by those in office. Why you say? Well they have us thinking that if they pass all these sex offender laws we will be safe. If those in office realy wanted to protect us they would REQUIRE ALL KNOWN SEX OFFENDERS TO PAY FOR TESTING THAT IS RELIABLE, THAT WOULD SHOW HOW LIKELY THEY ARE TO RE-OFFEND. And then post those who are at the most risk on a public sex offender registry. After all is that not what we the public want, to be protected from those at the highest risk to reoffend.

  9. Are you really an author?? You Advise is both IDIOTIC and UNREASONABLE. Some offenders are reigstered because of Romeo and Juliet crimes, peeping Toms, etc and NOT ALL are predatory. How about Juvenille offenders who may have comitted a crime at age 10? Should I follow your lead and dump them in the river? Your advise is soundly ignorant of facts and you should really find a new career.

  10. Most of the posters above are convicted sex offenders and are so mad they got caught and have to register that they now go around calling everyone vigilantis.

    Do they want sympathy? YOU BET. They want you to forget they victimized someone. They want you to forget they are fellons. They want you to feel sorry for them and them only. They are selfish.

    If they wouldn’t sexually abuse others they wouldn’t have to worry about it.

    • You are so wrong in your statement Cammy. So, so wrong. You are wrong about why we are mad and you are wrong that we want sympathy. You are wrong that we want you to feel sorry for us. You are wrong that I want you to forget that I am a felon. You are wrong about us being selfish. We were selfish when we committed our acts, that is a true fact, but we have given up our selfishness so that we do not victimize another person. Our goal is “No More Victims”. You know the best way to have “No More Victims” besides death and life imprisonment (which will not happen)? A support group that has the same goal of “No More Victims”. You can make all the laws you want that ostracize us, but you are not making the world a safer place for your children. If you have the same goal of “No More Victims” as we “ex” sex offenders, then you might look deeper into the programs that help offenders succeed (having no more victims). Until you look, you will never help the situation and children will be in more danger than they have ever been.

  11. It is funny in a free country were people are able to post the thoughts they have. Or speak as they wish within reason; Cammy, can only say that people who maybe do not agree with her are sex offenders. As one who worked with sex offenders and was in Law Enforcement for over 25 years, I can tell you that it is true that some may want sympathy. But for the most part they realy would like to move foward. The sex offender registry is not helping any of us. And for the record some are NOT fellons, as the crime they commited does not call for a felony conviction. Now to say they are selfish, well that is a not the case with all of them also. You are trying hard to lump them all together. In fact if you do some research you will see that sex offenders are NOT all the same. And just because a person is on the sex offender registry (SOR) does not = child molester. Painting everyone with the same paint brush is out of date and out of line.

  12. Its a proven fact that most sex offenders do it again and again, and most have hurt many victims before they are caught. I think most of you are being very selfish and morons. have any of you thought about the victims or the familys, they have to live with what happened to them every day of thier life not to mention the parents who will never see thier children again, or the wife and mother who cant function because of a rape. You may think your doing something helpful but your just supporting thier actions.

  13. Amy it is NOT a proven fact that most sex offenders do it again and again. Look to the facts and study that the US Dept. Of Justice has done on the issue of sex offender recidivism. They state that sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates amoung all criminals with a 3.5% reconviction rate within 3 years of release from prison. Now as for unreported sex crimes; of course sex crimes are under reported. The problem is just as the word says unreported, thus to make a state that they do it again and again until caught is out of line, because they are unreported we do not know for sure how many sex crimes take place. But that is the case with all crimes including murder. Many times the police will miss the fact that a death is in fact a murder, and report it as natural causes or death by suicide. This happens with all crimes, but I would agree that sex crimes are probably way under reported. The main reason is again what was found out by the US Dept. Of Justice; 90% of sexual assaults are commited by a person well known and trusted by the victim with OVER 50% OF THEM BEING A FAMILY MEMBER. With the sex offender registry the reporting of family members commiting sexual assaults has gone down. Not because in real life the number has gone down, but because family members are not as quick to report a family member knowning that the whole house hold will suffer, based on being placed on the sex offender registry or if they live to close to a restricted area for sex offenders to live, they will have to move.

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