In 2013, Theodore Whipple and his wife sued the homeowner’s association in the condominium complex where they lived after the HOA attempted to evict the couple. Whipple was convicted of a sexual offense more than 20 years before he moved to the condo complex. The HOA adopted a rule in 2012 that barred registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of areas where children congregate.
The Whipple case, which was settled out of court in Texas, questioned whether an HOA had the right to restrict how units were used. They claimed that the law went beyond existing law, as Whipple was only required to remain 500 feet from children areas while on parole, not 2,000 like the HOA’s rule. The Whipple case was not the only HOA lawsuit related to a restriction on sex offender registration. In New Jersey, Panther Valley Property Owners adopted an amendment that banned Tier 3 offenders from their neighborhood. A Tier 3 offender has a high risk of reoffending according to New Jersey law. An owner who had not committed a sex offense, sued, claiming it infringed on his right to sell and that it required the owner to identify whether a potential buyer was a Tier 3 offender. The courts ruled for the HOA, claiming there were only 80 Tier 3 offenders in New Jersey at that time which meant the rule did not place a hardship on owners who wanted to sell.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, an HOA does not have the power to ban a sex offender from purchasing a home in the community they cover in the state of Nevada. Federal law requires states to register convicted sex offenders and track where they choose to live. Some of the information on the register is available to the public. Under the law, although the public can access the information, it may not be used for any purpose connected to housing or accommodations unless it is provided by another statute. In Nevada, there are no statutes that allow the banning of sex offenders in communities.
Megan’s Law, a law passed after the murder of Megan Kanka by a registered sex offender, requires states to create a database of high-risk sex offenders and make that information public. Nevada’s Megan’s Law requires that offenders convicted of sex crimes after 1956 and released on parole or probation register with the state within 48 hours of arriving in the state. Registration is for life, although Tier 1 offenders in Nevada may petition for relief after 15 years of consecutive registration. Tier 1 offenders are at low-risk of offending again. Tier 1 offenders are shared only with other law enforcement agencies while Tier 2 offender notification is sent to schools and other children-related organizations. Tier 3 offenders are shared with the general public, although there is a stipulation on how the information can be used.
Despite the fact that it is illegal to use sex offender registry information for housing purposes, HOAs continue to attempt to ban sex offenders from living or buying in the community. If you have been told by an HOA that you cannot purchase or live in an area because you are a registered sex offender, contact us today by phone at 702-380-8248 to arrange for a no obligation appointment.