Do I Have to Rent to a Registered Sex Offender?

New Neighbor Causes Chaos in Local Community...Does the Law Require a Homeowner to Rent to a Registered Sex Offender?

Sex offender sign from a news show

There are more laws restricting sex offenders than any other type of criminal, even murderers. All sex offenders are required by federal law to register their permanent address to a national database. State and local laws restrict where a registered sex offender may live, usually keeping them away from schools, parks, daycare centers, and other places where children are present. With over 700,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., finding a place to live proves to be difficult, but does the law require a homeowner, landlord, or property manager to rent to a registered sex offender?

When convicted sex offender Christopher Hubbart, 63, also known as ‘The Pillowcase Rapist’ for raping at least 40 women was released on parole, he also had a difficult time finding housing. Hubbart wanted to live in his former neighborhood area in California and submitted a rental application to Real Property Management Antelope Valley. As part of our policy and procedures to protect our property owners and comply with Fair Housing laws, every rental application goes through several screening processes including criminal background checks. Fair housing laws were put into place to prevent discrimination against certain characteristics such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability but they do not protect against those with a criminal background or sex offenses*. Please check with your local legal counsel on local, state, and federal laws and ordinances.

Demonstrators holding signs against sex offender Chris Hubbard

Because Hubbart’s criminal background check was not acceptable, Real Property Management declined his application. According to KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, C.A., Hubbart finally found housing from a homeowner who also is a convicted felon. Demonstrations from protesters with signed petitions and unhappy neighbors and members of the community won’t rest until Hubbart leaves, creating havoc in the neighborhood.

People holding protest signs at a fenced installation

The situation made local and national news reinforcing the need for greater tenant screening processes from landlords and property managers. “I’m glad we didn't allow him into one of our rentals!” said the owner of Real Property Management Antelope Valley, after seeing the aftermath of the disgruntled neighborhood dispute and the problems it would have caused for the property owner.

Because sex offenders are not a protected class under fair housing laws, a landlord or property manager is in no way obligated to rent to a registered sex offender or anyone with a criminal background. Knowing local, state, and federal laws for registered sex offenders, understanding fair housing laws, and properly screening all applicants are just some of the many reasons to use a professional property manager like Real Property Management.

To search for and find registered sex offenders in your neighborhood, go to the National Sex Offender Public Website.

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