Dear Property Adviser,
Do I need to accept an offer for my house from a registered sex offender?
— Maryanne S.
Phillip Spears/Getty Images
Excellent question. Most questions about registered sex offenders are from sellers, wondering if they are obligated to reveal a locality sex offender to a buyer, particularly when that offender is a pedophile as well as the buyer has children. Most of the time they’re not!
But relax. You need to be OK in this situation if you don’t have already signed a contract in which case you’ll not be able to leave only due to your suffering or the neighbors’ suffering. With a signed contract in hand, the purchaser could make an effort to demand “specific performance” and sue to compel you to sell, though these suits generally achieve little other than pushing the seller to pay back the purchaser’s court fees and any due diligence and transferring groundwork prices.
Your rights as a house seller
Actually, you can refuse to accept a purchase offer from a sex offender or anyone else as long as your refusal isn’t in breach of the Fair Housing Act (Title 8). A joint statement by the Department of the Housing and Urban Development as well as the Department of Justice says “… sex offenders, by virtue of that status, aren’t individuals with disabilities protected by the Act.”
Shielded buyer groups/classifications under Title 8 are race, colour, gender, religion, familial status (buyer has kids or is pregnant), natural origin and physical or mental impairment. Nevertheless, lots of states have added their own categories including political ideology, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, military standing and application of a service creature.
I say these just in case the offender happens to be an associate of one of them and attempts to claim discrimination. In this type of rare (and nearly always unsuccessful) litigation brought by a sex offender, you had need to see an attorney pronto.
The best way to seek out a registered sex offender
You do not say you found the buyer was a sex offender. (It is possible to always check the national registry at NSOPW.gov.) But to my knowledge, there aren’t any laws that expressly require buyers’ brokers to reveal to seller’s broker or a seller that their buyer is a sex offender. Actually, doing so might be a violation of the representative’s fiduciary duty since the buyer would likely consider this information that is confidential. In finding this, so great occupation! (Yikes, I certainly do not envy sex offenders’ buying agents.)
Since sex offenders are not a safe class, I believe you are pretty much in nixing this buyer, minus a signed contract, of course, in the clear. In addition , I believe your neighborhood owes you a huge going away bash.
Better chance with the following buyer!
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