What can I do if a sex offender moves into the unit upstairs from my family?

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What can I do if a sex offender moves into the unit upstairs from my family?

While checking the sex offenders list today I saw that the new tenant upstairs from me is a sex offender (3rd degree sexual offense, committed in 1991). The victim was a family friend between 6 and 13. My daughter is 7. We live in a big house sectioned off into apartments. Is there anything that the landlord should do to better protect my children?

Asked on September 15, 2010 under Real Estate Law, West Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your rights as a tenant depends on a few different things.  It depends first on where you live because some states have actually enacted laws that deal with this issue, and specifically the duty of the landlord in this regard.  If they have not, your basic right to feel safe and to have your children be safe are what you would be dwelling on here.  Then it depends on whether or not the landlord knew that the tenant was a sex offender.

What you should do first is speak with your landlord as to the information that you have uncovered and express your concern for your safety.   Then I would speak with an attorney in your area as to the law.  Some landlords have the ability to evict. This is a difficult situation and the rights of all parties need to be balanced.  Good luck.


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