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Renting to a sex offender

sylvan8798sylvan8798 6668 replies141 threads Senior Member
H always asks me to check into people wanting to rent our apartments, but BIL does not and this time BIL brought in a "great candidate" who turned out to be a serious level three sex offender. SO is now on an 18 month lease, while the girl in the adjacent apartment is very concerned and we are faced with the legal machinations of getting rid of the SO. I realize he has to live somewhere after paying what appears to be a 12 year debt to society, but if the other tenant leaves out of fear, it would be our problem, not to mention the difficulty of renting an apartment when you have to disclose that a convicted rapist lives in the apartment next door. Thoughts on how to proceed?
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Replies to: Renting to a sex offender

  • EconPopEconPop 424 replies7 threads Member
    edited December 2019
    @sylvan8798 ,

    Consulting an attorney is definitely the best advice. Until then, there are a few things you can do to try to figure out your course of action.

    First, the state this is in matters a lot. Some states are very tenant-friendly, while others are very landlord-friendly. Evicting a tenant in California is exponentially more complicated than in Texas.

    Second, what does the lease say? Is it the 2nd month of a 1 year lease? Is it month-to-month? Does the lease have clauses that might cover this situation? Definitely read the lease to see if you can find some mechanism for relief there.

    Call your local police department and see if there are any restrictions against sex offenders in that area. Often, cities will have laws that prohibit sex offenders from living near a school, daycare, or other facilities that deal with children. Also, make sure that the guy is listed with any sex-offender tracking system your state may employ. If this apartment is in a restricted area, he may not legallybe allowed to stay.

    I wouldn't want to rent to a sex offender, especially in a multi-unit dwelling.
    edited December 2019
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  • jym626jym626 56295 replies2938 threads Senior Member
    Does anything in your lease application require him to disclose arrests, legal history, etc? If he failed to disclose information required in the application couldn’t you then be within your rights to break the lease?
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  • momo2x2018momo2x2018 940 replies52 threads Member


    There's a difference between a sex offender and a sexual predator....

    Some states prohibit registered SO from living within a certain distance of schools, parks, daycare centers etc. Is your property within one of those states?

    In some states, a landlord may reclaim property for personal purposes. Some states specifically prohibit landlords from researching the SO registry and using that information to discriminate; some couties, ie in FL, prohibits registered SO from renting in that county and will fine a landlord if the landlord rents to a registered SO.

    Be careful, and as somebody else said, seek legal counsel - before you head down what could be, a slippery path

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  • anomanderanomander 1724 replies4 threads Senior Member
    Ouch, definitely a tough situation. First thing to do as someone else mentioned is thoroughly review his lease application. If he lied about having a criminal record, then that’s grounds for eviction.

    If not, then definitely contact an attorney. You not only need to see what you can do legally to evict, you also need to understand your obligations to disclose this tenant’s record to other tenants in order to avoid liability.
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  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame 3148 replies47 threads Senior Member
    Talking to a lawyer ASAP is a good idea. You should be able to get a free consultation anywhere, although I'd be surprised if you did not already have a relationship with a landlord-tenant attorney to help you with the building. You should.

    You might also be able to get advice from a victim rights state ombudsperson in your state or look for Marsy's Law organizations.

    PM'd you some additional information.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1689 replies13 threads Senior Member
    Oh, I really feel for you. To be safe, hire a locksmith at your expense to put in extra locks on her door. If I was her, I would have been out of that apartment in a nanosecond. That's really scary stuff.
    I'd hire a lawyer. Pronto. Put in a ring doorbell at her place and put in a security camera for the building. Nearly all leases are month to month or if a year, have exit language.
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  • calla1calla1 2014 replies26 threads Senior Member
    You've gotten great advice. I wouldn't want him around either.

    Do you know what type of crimes he committed? If possession of child porn, the woman next door is probably safe but kids might not be. If rape, I'd worry about the woman next door. Crime history does not always predict the next crime, but there might be some indications. Meanwhile, I hope you are able to get him out.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8601 replies251 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    For about $35, you can receive a full report online for the prospective renters, it will give you an updated credit report plus all the criminal, eviction and offensive details about the applicants. I always have all the adults on the lease file one. I always got short end of the stick when I cut corners.
    edited December 2019
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  • milee30milee30 2238 replies13 threads Senior Member
    In addition to figuring out how to handle the current situation, make sure you put new procedures in place to prevent this in the future. Although cons aren't supposed to have contact with each other, they often do and between the con networks and the Parole Officers, word quickly gets out about which landlords will rent to cons. Unless you change your process ASAP, this won't be the first con you'll get as a tenant. If you take a look at the sex offender registry in many areas, you'll find sex offenders end up in clusters; they find landlords who don't know or don't care and swarm to those locations because they have few alternatives.

    I found this out when I was a CASA for foster kids. It was both terrifying and sad to see how many apartment buildings contained literally dozens of sex offenders... living among the families who had parents that didn't know to check the registry, didn't have other options or simply didn't care.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 22024 replies233 threads Senior Member
    I hope your brother in law gets a huge lump of coal in his stocking. I'd be fuming. Don't have any advice to add but sorry you are having to deal with this.
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  • IgloooIglooo 8330 replies215 threads Senior Member
    Horrible situation. One thing I don't understand. Is this your rental or your BIL's rental? If it is BIL's, should it be up to him to take care of the headache?
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  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 6668 replies141 threads Senior Member
    Iglooo wrote: »
    Horrible situation. One thing I don't understand. Is this your rental or your BIL's rental? If it is BIL's, should it be up to him to take care of the headache?
    H and BIL own the apartments jointly, so it’s all our problem. H has messaged our lawyer, hopefully he’ll have some useful thoughts. New York is pretty tenant-friendly, but not very sex offender friendly, so its hard to say where we stand.

    The guy was apparently in prison for 12 years for raping a 63 year old woman during a burglary, and sexually assaulting several others In similar crimes. Violent stranger rapes and assaults, no indication there were children involved.

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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 39602 replies2179 threads Super Moderator
    edited December 2019
    I guess I don't understand why you didn't check more carefully, if your husband has insisted in the past?

    Way back in 1999, there was a situation where a local church had a sexual offender attending a Bible study at the same time a preschool was in session (my son was one of the kids). It was at that time I realized what a serious issue this was and helped my own church get on the ball with background checks for ALL volunteers. I'm really surprised any landlord would rent to anyone without doing a thorough background check.
    edited December 2019
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  • jym626jym626 56295 replies2938 threads Senior Member
    What made your BIL think he was a “great candidate”?
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  • TexasCollegeMomTexasCollegeMom 208 replies49 threads Junior Member
    We always run a criminal, credit and rental history check on all our tenants prior to signing a lease. In many complexes we have to share the criminal report with the complex. Someone with a felony or a sexual assault would not be allowed via the association rules.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1930 replies27 threads Senior Member
    I feel for you. You have already been given great advice.

    I will just add that I have a tenant on a year's lease that I want out and her lease is up in June. From here on out I've decided to do a 60 day notice for either party - no more lock-ins for me. Or I'm going to sell the unit. In my state all the laws favor the tenant. It's just too hard to be a landlord as we have no rights any longer.

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  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 6668 replies141 threads Senior Member
    I guess I don't understand why you didn't check more carefully, if your husband has insisted in the past?
    Since H and BIL both own the apartments, sometimes H finds candidates and sometimes BIL does. If BIL finds someone he can make the decision to rent to them without running it past us and vice versa. I'll just leave it at enough said there.
    jym626 wrote:
    What made your BIL think he was a “great candidate”?
    He fits the type of person who usually rent the tiny studio-type apartments - older, single, disability, fixed income, no car, quiet, nice person, etc.

    H talked to the lawyer who apparently said we don't have any recourse. They are considering offering the guy money if he will move out, so we'll see how that goes. BIL is freaking out, but I think it serves them right for not putting more effort into checking into people.




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  • OhiBroOhiBro 464 replies6 threads Member
    Would “checking into people“ have changed anything? Would it have been legal to deny housing?
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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 17244 replies163 threads Senior Member
    Instances where it would be permissible to refuse to rent to a convicted sex offender:

    https://www.rentprep.com/tenant-screening-news/do-i-have-to-rent-to-a-sex-offender/
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