This was a topic of some lively debate between some panelists during a class at the CAI Law Seminar held in Las Vegas recently. A majority of the panelists took the position that associations should only notify residents of how to get information about registered sex offenders that may live in the area, and if an association undertakes to proactively notify residents when a registered sex offender moves into the community, it could be taking on liability. For example, if the association posts the name and address of the registered sex offender, and misstates any fact, then the association could be risking a defamation claim. Also, if the association undertakes such notifications by proactively advising the community when the first registered sex offender moves into the community, and then fails to notify the community when a second person moves in, has the association breached the duty it undertook and therefore created liability for itself?
On the other hand, some of the panelists advocated that associations owed a duty to residents to notify them when a sex offender moves into the community including name and address. They did not see any liability issues as long as the association was getting the information directly from the public records provided by law enforcement.
Here at Altitude Community Law, we recommend associations tell owners where to get information about registered sex offenders, but going beyond that by proactively notifying owners anytime a sex offender moves into the community and/or posting specific information about a particular person is creating too much of a risk for the association.
For more information on notifying residents about registered sex offenders, please read our newsletter article, “To Inform or Not to Inform – That is the Question”.