I was asked by a friend of mine whether I would take a listing on a house with a level-three sex offender* next door. Since I don’t take listings, I got to dodge the question. Since then, I’ve been asking listing agents. Some say that the person next door has done nothing wrong. That owner should be allowed to hire help to sell his or her house. Some say, they couldn’t sell a house with an offender next door.
When a level-three sex offender is released from prison, neighbors in the immediate area are informed. However, there is no requirement for the police to inform people who subsequently move into the area.
What brought my friend to call me and ask such a question? There is a sex offender living around the corner from this friend. The house next to the offender is under agreement to a family with little girls. My friend was driving past when she saw the new buyers were at the house with their buyer’s agent, and the listing agent. The little girls were dancing around (apparently invited) on the lawn of the level-three sex offender.
My friend stopped her car and had some words with the listing agent. The agent told my friend that is it the buyer’s responsibility to do their due diligence in regard to their children’s safety. She, the listing agent, cannot tell them about the neighbors.
I confirmed that law says that it is the buyer’s responsibility to check the sex offender’s registry. The listing agent has no obligation to inform a potential buyer. The listing agent’s duty to sell the house does not include telling future buyers about the neighbors. The presence of an offender is not considered a material concern that falls under consumer law.
Sex offenders who have done their prison time have a right to live wherever they want, as long as they register. That’s the law. Buyers, especially women and people with children, also have the right to know where these sex offenders live. Did you check the sex offender’s registry before you bought? It’s pretty easy, you can even do it from your I-Phone.
I also thought about the question. If I were a listing agent, I wouldn’t take the listing.
Level 3 Sex Offenders: Where the Board determines that the risk of reoffense is high and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety interest is served by active dissemination, it shall give a level 3 designation to the sex offender.
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