Legislative Alert: Killer Prompts New Real Estate Background Check Law

Screening News

  • Killer Prompts New Real Estate Law
  • Apartment Locator Helps Ex-Cons Lie on Applications
  • Marijuana Legalization Stopped by Governor


Killer Prompts New Real Estate Law

The discovery last year that a South Carolina real estate agent was holding a woman hostage, chained at the neck in a storage container, sent chills through everyone who had ever gone house hunting with a stranger. It got even worse when the remains of the woman’s boyfriend and 6 others were discovered on the property. It turns out the suspect, Todd Kohlhepp – a convicted sex offender – received his real estate license before the state started requiring background checks. In 2014 a background check law went into effect, but it only applied to first time applicants. Now, in memory of Kohlhepp’s victims, Governor Henry McMaster has signed a new law that requires all real estate agents, brokers, property managers, and supervisors to have a fingerprint-based check every six years. That works out to every third license renewal. The state Real Estate Commission is still working out the details of what will happen if an agent fails the check.

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Apartment Locator Helps Ex-Cons Lie on Applications

A San Antonio news team uncovered a scam by an apartment locating service that was falsifying documents and encouraging apartment hunters to lie on applications to hide their criminal history. According to News 4, Apartments Today offered to adjust old pay stubs for unemployed applicants to create proof of income. They also said (on hidden camera) that they would “help guide” the applicants to get approved. One man says they told him to put the wrong birthday on the application so his 9 felony convictions would not show up. It worked, and that unemployed applicant is now enjoying a $1,525-a-month luxury apartment. There’s no word on how he plans to pay for it now that he has it. The locators are motivated by the promise of hefty commissions.


Marijuana Legalization Stopped by Governor

Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott rejected a bill that would have decriminalized non-medical marijuana possession in his state. Senate Bill 22 would have made it legal for adults to have up to one ounce of cannabis or be allowed to grow up to two mature plants. The State Senate approved the bill earlier this month, but the Governor says he does not support the legislation in its current form. He says he is open to working with lawmakers over the summer to find ways to amend the current laws. Supporters of the bill say minor marijuana offenders should not be saddled with a criminal record or lifelong penalties. Those opposing the bill include the Vermont Association of Police Chiefs, the Vermont Medical Society, and the Vermont American Academy of Pediatrics. The state does allow medical use of the drug.

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Legislative Alerts

Jennifer Gladstone

Posted By: Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.