Last week, the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee of the New Jersey Legislature completed its review and revisions on bill A4463, which proposes to alter the eligibility qualifications for a real estate license in New Jersey. In particular, the bill seeks to prohibit any Tier 2 or Tier 3 sex offenders under Megan’s Law from obtaining Real Estate Licensure, as well as, permanently revoke the licenses currently possessed by any Megan’s Law registrant who is a Tier 2 or Tier 3 offender. In the case of Tier 1 sex offenders, the New Jersey Real Estate Commission would be required to conduct a hearing to determine whether the individual may retain his license and under what conditions.
The bill, A4463, was originally introduced on June 1, 2015, and is sponsored by five assemblymen. It also addresses issues concerning continuing education courses; however, the main focus of the bill is its regulation on issuance of licensure to Megan’s Law registrants. Since its introduction, it has been under review by the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee, which reported their findings and amendments on December 10, 2015. The Committee concluded the following on the issuance of a real estate licensure to convicted sex offenders:
“This bill predicates the disqualification of real estate licenses issued to certain individuals based upon the conviction of any sex offense that would qualify the person for registration under ‘Megan’s Law,’ or an equivalent statute of another state or jurisdiction. The bill permits the New Jersey Real Estate Commission to place licensees on probation, suspend or revoke any real estate license, or impose penalties on a real estate licensee, for failure to notify the commission of the licensee having been convicted of any sex offense that would qualify the person for registration under ‘Megan’s Law,’ or an equivalent statute of another state or jurisdiction, regardless of the date of the conviction. Furthermore, the bill stipulates that the commission will not disqualify a person from licensure on the basis of a conviction for any sex offense that would qualify the person for registration under ‘Megan’s Law,’ or an equivalent statute of another state or jurisdiction, if the person has affirmatively demonstrated to the commission clear and convincing evidence of the person’s rehabilitation. If the commission determines that the person has affirmatively demonstrated rehabilitation, the commission at its discretion may condition licensure or renewal upon compliance with any conditions the commission deems appropriate for the enhancement of public safety.”
Lastly, the Committee made the following amendments: 1) the Commission may suspend, revoke, or place on probation a license holder who fails to report his sex offense to the Commission, and 2) if a registrant can prove that he is “rehabilitated” to the Commission, he may be granted licensure, or have his current license renewed.