Recent Ruling in San Diego, California May Affect Residency Laws for Sex Offenders and Tenant Screening, States TenantScreeningUSA.com

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A recent ruling in San Diego, California dramatically alters residency requirements for registered sex offenders and could, eventually alter tenancy requirements across the country. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "The legal decision in San Diego sets a precedent that will alter how tenant checks are reviewed."

Tenant Screening USA

TenantScreeningUSA.com

The recent ruling in San Diego has the potential to significantly alter how the sex offender registry information is used and highlights the critical need for landlords and property managers to work with a third-party tenant screening company."

Courts in San Diego struck down components of California's Proposition 83 which significantly alters residency laws for registered Sex Offenders. (Taylor on Habeas Corpus, S206143)

From SFGate.com (Mar. 03, 15):

A voter-approved California law that prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park violates offenders’ rights — and fails to protect the public — in an urban county where most available housing and services are in the restricted zone, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday. (1)

This recent change could greatly affect landlords and/or property managers, especially those with properties within the 2,000 foot threshold.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "This is an important change and throws into question the legality of where a sex offender can live. It further puts pressure on who a property manager or landlord can rent to, for the moment just in San Diego County, but potentially the entire state."

One of the most valuable tools a landlord has to vet a potential tenant is a tenant background check. Commonly, a tenant check is a collection of documents and reports drawn from references and public records that provide a window of knowledge regarding an applicant's fiscal ability, responsibility, and wherewithal to enter into a legal document such as a rental lease. Further, tenant checks can provide some insight to a candidate's ability to interact with property and fellow renters.

Under Megan's Law, sex offenders must register into a statewide database and provide a current address. Megan's Law data can be helpful to landlords:

From NoLo.com (No date given)

“Megan’s Law” may be able to assist landlords in confirming that some of the information provided in the rental application and revealed in the credit report is complete and correct. (2)

Almeida states: "As with any public record used in a background screening process, especially a tenant check, a best practice is to work with a third-party tenant screening company. Generally a third-party tenant screening company is highly trained in the legal and lawful use of public documents as well as their correctness and reliability."

Normally, registered sex offenders are restricted to living at 1,000 feet away from elementary and secondary schools, as well as child-care facilities. In some situations there are special circumstances that decreases the 1,000 foot buffer. (3)

Almeida states: "The use of information gathered from a statewide or federal sex offenders registry is challenging and increasingly complicated. The recent ruling in San Diego has the potential to significantly alter how the sex offender registry information is used and highlights the critical need for landlords and property managers to work with a third-party tenant screening company."

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company that provides clients with the most current and accurate legal information regarding the fair and lawful use of public records. Highly trained representatives can assist landlords and property managers with their tenant screening requirement.

Notes:

(1)    sfgate.com/news/article/Sex-offender-restrictions-unconstitutional-state-6110402.php
(2)    nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-landlords-can-use-megan-s-law-check-state-databases-sexual-offenders.htm
(3)    kten.com/story/28885804/sex-offender-living-close-local-day-cares

The case is Taylor on Habeas Corpus, S206143. The ruling can be viewed here: courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S206143.PDF.

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