How Landlords Can Use Megan’s Law to Check State Databases of Sexual Offenders

As a rule, most landlords want to screen out tenants with criminal records, particularly convictions for violent crimes or crimes against children. Checking a prospective tenant’s credit report is one way to find out about a person’s criminal history. Self-reporting is another: Rental applications typically ask whether the prospective tenant has ever been convicted of a crime, and, if so, to provide details.  Running an investigative report, a background report about a person’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living, is one possibility, but less common.

“Megan’s Law” may be able to assist landlords in confirming that some of the information provided in the rental application and revealed in the credit report is complete and correct. Named after a young girl who was killed by a convicted child molester who lived in her neighborhood, this 1996 federal crime prevention law charged the FBI with keeping a nationwide database of persons convicted of sexual offenses against minors and violent sexual offenses against anyone. (42 U.S. Code § §â

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