I would like to give you folks a little barometer on where our society is, as a whole. We have a mobile home for rent, so I am fielding calls from potential tenants. Here’s part of the last call:
Lady Caller: Do you rent to sex offenders?
Me: Ma’am, this home is within seventy-five feet of elementary school property. North Carolina law states that a registered sex offender can not live within one thousand feet of school property.
Lady Caller: So you don’t rent to sex offenders?
Me: Ma’am, state law prohibits sex offender residence within one thousand feet of school property. Seventy-five percent of our properties fall within that parameter.
Lady Caller: Yeah, but is that the only reason you don’t rent to sex offenders?
Me: Ma’am state law is what it is…I don’t have to go beyond that.
Lady Caller: (Hangs up)
That, folks, is the bait and switch that every landlord and/or law enforcement officer must deal with on a daily basis. A person fishing for the basis for a discrimination suit while I’m trying the protect the interests of the community.
There are so many kids in our biggest mobile home park that it empties a bus when they drop-off in the afternoon. Would you put a sex offender in the middle of a community like that? I bet your answer is no. However, if you were to flatly state that you don’t rent to sex offenders, then you would find yourself open to a lawsuit.
This is the tightrope that we have to walk. The fine line that exists between protecting the community and getting sued. Fun stuff.