When Sex Offenders Have Trouble With Real Estate Law

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on December 16, 2013

That’s a registration no one, really, wants to be on. Why? Because, apparently, homeowner associations clear across the board can essentially set up their own regulations in cases like that, barring individuals from being in a specific property that is within a specified distance from a known place of origin where children congregate. That could be a park, or a school, or even a daycare facility. These rules associations can place are, in fact, completely legal.

In particular, a certain Texas homeowners association is facing a lawsuit filed by one Theodore Whipple who was sex offendereffectively banned from living in his condo, because it was within 2,000 feet of an establishment made for children. He apparently received the notice immediately on the day he was released from prison.

The main issue here, though, is the fact that it may be a violation of the 14th Amendment. With special notice of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act with the right to alienate property, this was specifically because of a conviction from more than 20 years ago. Yet, the registry doesn’t take any of that into account. If it says you’re a sex offender on it, you’re still a sex offender in the eyes of law enforcement, associations, organizations and just about anyone or anything else.

Currently, the lawsuit is pending. Whipple, however, is allowed to reside in his condo during that time. Moreover, his parole has ended completely. State law essentially allows for such statutes to be inapplicable for those specific situations, even though he’s still technically on the registry. Only time will tell if the past will stay in the past – or if it will follow Whipple wherever he goes.

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