By Nicole Seidner
The United States is moving closer towards a renter-friendly nation with renter-friendly laws. As renters cheer every time tenant screening laws shift in their favor, landlords and property managers across the nation have to adjust to the turning, pro-renter tide. Despite that, screening is a necessity and there is always one argument you can pose. To be in the rental housing industry means you need to have the information to enable smart leasing decisions and keep yourself safe from litigation. You need to know about the sex offender registry.
A Different Beast
When it comes to the sex offender registry, these records are an entirely different beast than other criminal record databases. There are different levels to these records, known as levels one, two, and three. Across states, levels one, two and three depend on age, risk of repeat offense, and if they are a danger to the public. The most notable factor is, however, that only Level Three Sex Offenders are made known to the public, while the lower levels may be found at county levels.
It gets muddier in some states as records can have different expungement laws. Missouri allows “Romeo and Juliet laws” exceptions. If you’ve had ‘consensual’ physical relations with someone older than fourteen, you can have your sex offender registration expunged after two years. Crossing state lines changes things, and sometimes city lines as well. In Seattle, Fair Chance Housing Ordinance SMC 14.09 states that landlords cannot outright “categorically exclude” anyone with a record, including sex offenders. Depending on the state, rental applicants who are on the sex offender registry also have to abide by different rules.
Rules to Live By as a Sex Offender In
|Fees of up to $10,000, no noted registry fines.||Fines of $25,000. $100 costs to register as an offender and yearly registry fees of $100.|
|Must disclose their social media identifiers.||No social media while under parole or probation|
|Not allowed within 2,000-feet of a School.||Not allowed within 500-feet of a school.|
|Must report within 5 days of a residential move.||Must report within 3 days of a residential move.|
While the applicants are responsible for abiding, and keeping up with, state-specific sex offender registry laws, they can also be used as guidelines for leasing standards for each of your properties.
As a landlord, you need to make the most informed decision that you can. Anyone would want to know who they are renting to. You want to know if they’ve been convicted of any crimes, and if it was nonviolent or otherwise. As a landlord, your job is to provide safe housing, but you can’t always know who your applicants are from first glance. That’s why you should rely on a tenant screening service with a thorough criminal record search. With criminal databases like the sex offender registry backing your rental decisions, you’re doing your job protecting your assets and the local community.
ApplyConnect works hard to handle those concerns. With maximum possible accuracy, our criminal public records are updated daily from courts big and small from across the United States, Washington D.C, Native Tribes and the sex offender registry. Every ApplyConnect report comes complete with a full Experian credit report, VantageScore credit score, and a nationwide criminal and eviction database search. With built-in rental applications and a legal filtering tool to ensure you stay compliant with the latest laws, ApplyConnect is the perfect tenant screening solution for agents and owners who wish to rent their properties with confidence.
Nicole Seidner is a copywriter at ApplyConnect, an affiliate of Contemporary Information Corporation (CIC). She holds a degree in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus in creative nonfiction. Her free time is spent taking pictures of her dogs or reading deep-dive analysis on movies that she hasn’t seen. This article has been contributed by CIC. CIC and ApplyConnect are the preferred tenant screening service providers of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. For more information, go to https://aagla.org/cic-apply-connect.