Should Sex Offenders be able to get a Real Estate License?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

As a member of the New York State Association of Realtors I have been involved in supporting and opposing legislation that is important to our industry and private property owner's rights in NYS.  We have just been able to have a bill pass both the Senate and the Assembly that stops sex offenders from getting licensed in the State of New York.  May be you as a Realtor want to see this happen in your state?

I for one, when the idea first came up to restrict only certain offenders, in the higher felony classification, got my back up.  You see I am a retired Detective Lieutenant and I started the Sex Crimes Bureau in my county, Westchester, New York back in 1974.  I had been involved in changing the Felony Rape laws back then and started the new investigative division because my boss, Sheriff Tom Delaney, believed that it was necessary.  To make a long story short, I was so immersed in my profession that I saw the "regression" that occurs with these type of prepetrators.  They don't start out as rapists. But they do start and many times our judicial system because of many variables will plea down an offense so that it is really difficult to say where the perpetrator should be classified.  After many legislative committee meetings, and my passion about this topic, I was able to have everyone on the same page regarding that the bill be all inclusive of all sex offenders. 

I realize as I am sure you do also, there are some unusual circumstances that sometimes do occur. I can honestly say that there were times we eliminated an individual as a suspect, because he didn't fit the profile or something was wrong.  I won't say that there are some individuals that can be incorrectly marked as a sex offender but there is a remedy for this within the judicial system.  (Another topic). 

I do believe that we have done a good thing here in New York by stopping the license ability for an individual to become a Real Estate Agent.  Maybe you should consider doing the same in your state.

Safety isn't just about us the agents, it is also about our clients and their properties.

Comments (9)


Like any other crime there are different degrees. For instance, 98% of all sex crimes against children are committed by family members and friends of the family. 95% of first time offenders NEVER commit another sex crime. Now you won't hear that from the news media and politicians. They will tell you anything for ratings and votes.

Unfortunately, all sex offenders are painted with the same broad brush. Mention the word, "sex offender," and the general public thinks of John Couey who killed Jessica Lunsford.

Children as young as 10 have been put on sex offender registries. Many Romeo and Juliet are put on the registry. See: as an example of injustice.

Let me back up a few facts for you and you can go see for yourself.


* Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).
Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.
* The 272,111 offenders discharged in 1994 had accumulated 4.1 million arrest charges before their most recent imprisonment and another 744,000 charges within 3 years of release.

Recidivism Studies PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda   
Wednesday, 11 October 2006 06:00

US Department of Justice, 2003
• Sample size – 9,700 sex offenders

• Length of time – 3 years
• Re-offense trigger – reconviction (Doesn't mean a new sex crime)
Results – 5.3% sexual offence. 3.3% child molestation.


Many good articles and studies here.


I do believe in second chances, Many Former offenders have been run out of town, fired from jobs can't provide for their own wives and children. The laws as they are written are doing more harm than good.

Sep 27, 2008 01:50 AM
Gail Gladstone
Gladstone Group & Long Island Business Brokerage - Huntington, NY
Brokering Success

Accolades for a job well done.  Not only should customers and clients not be working alone sometimes with sex about all the children we Realtors come across in our jobs.

As a New York Realtor, I applaud your efforts and hope other states will take the initiative.

Sep 27, 2008 08:32 AM
Miriam Bernstei
Rochester, NY

Carol, I also applaud your efforts in this regard.  Were it not for this post however I would not even be aware that this was on the books and I am wondering why not.  Should we Realtors not be informed about pending legislation.  I read a lot, visit loads of sites online, including NYSAR, NAR, WCBR etc and have not seen mention of this.  I appreciate your informative post and would have been horrified if this would have passed and sex offenders would have been permitted to get a real estate license, truly scary.

Sep 29, 2008 11:00 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

NO.  Sorry it's such a short answer, but it's too the point.

Oct 27, 2008 03:38 AM

Hello all. Question: Can a convicted sex-offender (i.e., "rape") obtain an Indiana Salesperson's License if they have completed parole and stuff, and passed all the pre-licensing exams?

Oct 22, 2009 06:17 AM

ignorant comments girls. Not well thought out.

Mar 28, 2013 08:15 AM

In Washington state can a sex offender get a real estate brokers liscence. Im asking because I found out my apartment manager is a lvl two and its a really big complex in the down town area and theres alot of people alleging misconduct about him

Apr 15, 2015 11:25 AM

In Washington state can a sex offender get a real estate brokers liscence. Im asking because I found out my apartment manager is a lvl two and its a really big complex in the down town area and theres alot of people alleging misconduct about him

Apr 15, 2015 11:26 AM
Ms. McNamara

Very ignorant comments from close minded individuals. Maybe we should just send all the sex offenders to an island where they can live together? But wait, one of them would have to be a real estate agent. Forget that idea I guess.

Applause to the individuals who commended understanding that not all individuals blanketed as an offender are alike.

It should be up to the broker if he wants to contract such an individual, and up to the client if they don't feel comfortable working with such an individual. But there is no reason this information needs to be disclosed further then to the broker.

Lyn, Miriam, Gail -- you should be ashamed of yourself for being so narrow minded. But then again, heaven forbid there be another real estate agent out there that works hard that you would have to compete with. I'd be so horrifying, because all sex offenders are deviant creatures from the dark. I'll pray for you.

Aug 17, 2015 03:58 AM

My belief is that nothing is black and white. As with all crimes I believe that each case should be looked at individually. Sex Offenders specifically are bunched together regardless of their crimes and all endure the same punishment. If you urinate in a public park while drunk you can be placed on the sex offender list the same as a rapist; Is this fair? I disagree i think that the judicial system is far to quick to bunch everyone in this are of crime due to better chances of being re-elected(not always(sometimes it is a different reason) and will continue to create harsher punishments until changes are made). We do not burn witches at the stake these days because we as a society have decided it is barbaric so why do we bunch this criminal activity so broadly to each case without first looking at each individual case, their receding rate, and external chances of receding(such as environment). This persecution due to a few horrid individuals has caused the law to reflect a fear, has cause it to go rampant creating a general bias that anyone on this list is immediately a monster WORSE than a murder(the true most heinous criminal act). I ask all of you regardless of what your belief in the matter is, fact check each individual case and understand that some individuals deserve to have this harsh punishment but others do not, it's not black and white....nothing is

Oct 06, 2017 10:30 PM