Southwestern Missouri lawmakers are proposing legislation that would require real estate agents to warn nearby neighbors when they represent a home buyer who is a sex offender in a real estate transaction.
Sex offenders “have the right to live in a community if they want to, but it’s also the right of the families to know if there is a member in their community that is a convicted sex offender against children so we can make sure our children are aware of it and it doesn’t happen to them,” says Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, Mo.
The proposed law would require sex offenders who plan to purchase a home to tell their real estate agent about their criminal past. The buyer’s agent then would be responsible for disclosing, in writing, that information to the seller’s agent during the transaction. The buyer’s agent would also have to disclose the client’s sex offender status to neighbors living within a half-mile after the transaction has been completed.
Davis says he doesn’t expect the proposal to become law this year, but he hopes it sparks some debate. He says he’s targeting real estate agents first because they’re generally involved whenever new people move into the community.
The Missouri Association of REALTORS(R) has criticized the proposal, saying that it means real estate agents could face liability if a neighbor does not receive required notification after a sex offender purchases a house, and furthermore, not every home buyer even uses an agent.