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Measure signed into law to prohibit all sex offenders from real estate licensure

Albany, NY – August 7, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — New York’s REALTORS® today commend Gov. David Paterson for signing a measure into law that will preclude all convicted sex offenders from obtaining a real estate license (A.1269/S.1531). Under the parameters of the new law, any convicted sex offender will be barred from holding a real estate license, and current licensees will be required to report any sex crime conviction to the New York State Department of State within five days.

“New Yorkers will be safer as a result of this new law,” said NYSAR President Linda J. Page. “By signing this vital piece of legislation into law, Governor Paterson has ensured that convicted sex offenders will no longer have access to the real estate transaction process as a means to commit heinous crimes. We thank Governor Paterson and our legislative sponsors, Senator Charles Fuschillo and Assemblyman Jonathan Bing for taking the lead on this issue.”

The new law closes a loophole in current statute that only precluded felons from obtaining a real estate license. As such, misdemeanor level sex offenders have been eligible to hold a real estate license. The measure builds upon the private and public recognition that New Yorkers could be vulnerable to violent crime within the framework and common practices involving real estate transactions. For example, sexual predators could seek to take advantage of customers in unoccupied premises.

“Sex offenders on any level represent a persistent threat to the public,” Page said. “Any individual listed on the state’s sex offender registry should be prohibited from having one-on-one, closed-door contact with the public. We strongly supported this legislation because protecting the safety of our customers and clients is a top priority for the more than 62,000 members of the New York State Association of REALTORS®.”

“No one I know would want to give a registered sex offender the key to their house. Before this law went into effect, convicted sex offenders could hold real estate licenses and gain access to the homes of numerous New Yorkers who have their houses on the market. This new law is a commonsense measure that adds another layer of protection for our residents,” said Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District), who sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

“On any given day in my East Side district, hundreds of apartments are being shown by real estate licensees to neighborhood residents and visitors,” said Assemblyman Jonathan Bing (73rd Assembly District). “My current and future constituents deserve to know that those with access to their homes will not cause them harm. I applaud the New York State Association of REALTORS®’ proactive effort to prevent sex offenders from holding real estate licenses and I am proud to have sponsored this bill in the Assembly.”

The New York State Association of REALTORS® is a not-for-profit trade organization representing more than 62,000 of New York state’s real estate professionals. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark, which identifies real estate professionals who subscribe to a strict code of ethics as members of the National Association of REALTORS®. These REALTORS® are also members of the New York State Association of REALTORS® as well as their local board or association of REALTORS®.