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Megans Law
 
Please check the Attorney General's home page for local information. 
   
What is Megan's Law?

Thanks to Megan's Law, passed by Congress in 1996 as an amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children's Act, every state and the District of Columbia require sex offenders to register with state or local law enforcement officials after being released from prison. These laws help ordinary citizens keep themselves and their families safe by providing them access to information about potentially dangerous sex offenders living in their neighborhoods. The original Megan's Law was enacted in 1994 after seven-year-old Megan Kanka was lured into a neighbor's house then brutally raped and murdered by a known sex offender. The offense started a nationwide movement toward creating state sex offender registries. Although the details vary from state to state, Megan's Law requires sex offenders to notify state or local law enforcement agencies of any change of address after being released from prison. Law enforcement officials then notify the public of sex offenders living in their neighborhoods.

Specials Risks and Obligations Faced by Real Estate Professionals

Focus on state sex offender registries, community notification, and the growing accessibility of information about sex offenders raises questions about the responsibility of real estate professionals, including apartment managers and home sellers, to inform prospective residents or buyers about convicted sex offenders living in their buildings or communities. Real estate professionals may face significant risks by failing to provide adequate notice about the presence of convicted sex offenders who later victimize residents living in the professionals' communities. They may also face liability for violations of privacy laws designed to protect the offenders and their families. In many states, Megan's Law does not clearly express the disclosure duties of real estate professionals. Few states have specific requirements for apartment owners and managers. Even so, some courts have imposed liability on landlords for crimes committed by third parties victimizing their tenants when the criminal activity was foreseeable. The predominate theory is that the presence of sex offenders in neighborhoods is a foreseeable danger, and landlords exercising reasonable care must notify tenants.

How to Protect Yourself From Potential Liability

To protect themselves from potential liability, real estate professionals should become familiar with state privacy law requirements that may protect sex offenders and their families from disclosures under Megan's Law. Many states have Internet sex offender registries--most are updated daily--and offer information specific to the state Megan's Law. The federal government also provides information, including links to the state sex offender registries. 

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Brenda Sprankel
DRE # 01439669
  
 (818) 437-9841 Cell
    (818) 222-7707 Office
 (818) 222-7872 Fax
 Rodeo Realty        
                     23901 Calabasas Rd. Suite 1050
    Calabasas, CA 91302
                 Brenda@BrendaSprankel.com