Megans Law

23 Jan Megans Law

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Unless exempt, contracts for the sale and purchase of real property with one to four units and every rental or lease agreement for residential real property are required to include a statutorily-defined notice regarding the existence of public access database information regarding sex offenders.

In 1996, California enacted legislation requiring certain sex offenders to register with state and local agencies and requiring state and local agencies to release relevant information about certain sex offenders to protect the public. Pursuant to Civil Code §2079.10a, contracts for the sale and purchase of real property with one to four units and every rental or lease agreement for residential real property entered into by the parties on or after April 1, 2006 must contain, in not less than eight-point type, the following notice:

“Notice: Pursuant to §290.46 of the Penal Code, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public via an Internet web site maintained by the Department of Justice at www.meganslaw.ca.gov. Depending on an offender’s criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and ZIP code in which he or she resides.”

If a buyer is concerned about issues pertaining to registered sex offenders in the vicinity of a property they are interested in purchasing, buyer should independently investigate the issue either prior to submitting an offer on a property or within the investigation and inspection contingency period as specified in the purchase contract.

Upon delivery of the foregoing notice to a buyer or lessee, the seller, lessor or any broker is not required to provide information in addition to that contained in the notice. The information in the notice also shall not give rise to any cause of action by a registered sex offender against the disclosing party.

Nothing in §2079.10a, however, relieves or alters any existing duties of the seller, lessor or any broker. While a seller’s portion of a Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement does not contain any questions about sex offenders, a prudent seller should disclose any actual knowledge of sex offenders living in the neighborhood and fully disclose his or her actual knowledge regarding sex offenders in response to any questions regarding the same. Individuals who have questions or are seeking advice regarding Civil Code §2079.10a are urged to contact a qualified real estate attorney.

The above information is mostly quoted from the General Information for Buyers and Sellers outline published by the San Francisco Association of Realtors (revise date 11/12).

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