Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sex Offenders and Agent Disclosure

Sex offenders and agent disclosure

Sex offenders dominate the news … what do agents have to disclose?
The news sure is full of sex offender stories these days, and many crimes are being committed by registered offenders. Part of their registration process is to disclose where they live. Their presence in a neighborhood can, of course, impact neighborhood harmony if the information were widely known. Real estate agents constantly work in many ways to make their community a desirable place to live. When it comes to disclosing the homes inhabited by sex offenders they are walking the razor’s edge of social responsibility and individual rights.

The Nevada Legislature recognizes that and absolves real agents and sellers of needing to disclose such information. NRS40.770 states: In any sale, lease or rental of real property, the fact that a sex offender, as defined in NRS 179D.400, resides or is expected to reside in the community is not material to the transaction, and the seller, lessor, or landlord or any agent of the seller, lessor or landlord does not have a duty to disclose such a fact to a buyer, lessee or tenant or any agent of a buyer, lessee or tenant. It further states: In any sale, lease or rental or real property, the fact that a facility for transitional living for released offenders that is licensed pursuant to chapter a449 of NRS is located near the property being sold, leased, or rented is not material to the transaction.

So what do you do to protect your children…or yourself? Do your own investigation for your own peace of mind and protection. This information is now publicly available, but remember that there are responsibilities that go with your information gathering. The release of the information to the public is meant to assure public protection, not to punish the offender. It is illegal to use information obtained to commit a crime against a registered sex offender or to engage in discrimination or harassment against a registered sex offender. To do so can subject you to criminal and/or civil proceedings.

Our Advice: There is no specific neighborhood with a greater propensity for harboring such offenders as there is no financial link to this type of criminal…they can be rich or poor. They can be…and are… anywhere. Don’t condemn people for their past actions, but do be cautious with this type of convicted individual if they are in your neighborhood. Investigate online at There are other websites that you will find with a little effort that will assist you further. Take the time to check out your street and those around you. If you have a neighbor with a troubled past then consider yourself forewarned and therefore… forearmed. You might want to lock your doors and monitor your kids at play, but don’t panic over someone that has done time and is trying to put a life together. Unusual contact or behavior is another matter in which case you should call the Sheriff’s office for consultation.

Don’t put your agents in jeopardy of litigation by asking them to provide this information. Take responsibility and investigate your neighborhood or prospective neighborhood to your own satisfaction. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781- 5472.

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