Family of Molested Girl Wants Abuser To Buy Their House

March 29th, 2013

This case has sooo many good property issues:

The parents of a young Pennsylvania girl who was sexually molested by their neighbor have sued the man in a bid to force him to buy their house.

The child’s parents said they don’t want to live next to Oliver Beck and “are under duress to move.” Their lawsuit, filed in Lehigh County Court in Allentown, said his presence is “ultra-hazardous given the close proximity” of Beck to the victim and their two other daughters.

Beck, 65, pleaded guilty in September 2011 to indecent assault of a child under 13 and was sentenced to three to 23 months in prison. After his release, he moved back to his home near Emmaus, about 55 miles north of Philadelphia.

The suit contends the plaintiff’s house is now “virtually unmarketable” because their neighbor is a registered sex offender. They want Beck to buy their house for $350,000, which they say is the fair-market value plus fees and expenses related to moving to a new home.

Beck’s lawyer has asked a judge to dismiss that portion of the suit, saying the law does not entitle the plaintiffs to force Beck to buy their home.

What a bizarre suit!

PropertyProf links to a Slate story that comments on how sex-offenders in the neighborhood affects property prices.

About 12 percent. According to a study released in 2008, houses located next door to a registered sex offender drop by that much in value. For the average American homeowner, that’s a loss of nearly $21,000, enough money to send a child to private school for two years. The family in Pennsylvania claims the home is worth $235,000 without a sex-offender neighbor, so the loss in value has likely surpassed $28,000.

The Pennsylvania family is probably overreaching in its claim that the home is “virtually unmarketable.” Homes located next to registered sex offenders sell all the time—otherwise, a convict’s effect on property value would be nearly impossible to study.

The picture gets even bleaker when you consider that sex offenders affect not only the value of adjacent properties, but the value of other homes nearby. On average, homes within a 0.1-mile radius of a registered sex offender drop in value by 4 percent. If you buy a home in a typical Arkansas subdivision with 10 homes within 0.1 miles of your own, and each of those homes includes one adult male, there is an 8.6 percent chance that a sex offender will be close enough to depress your home’s value. (Sex offenders have no measurable effect on the value of homes more than 0.1 miles away.)

Another reason why there are such great pressures to exclude registered sex offenders.