Reporting Criminal Convictions
Q. Do I need to report all criminal convictions to the Board when seeking licensure?
A. Yes. The candidate authorizes the Board on their license application to check with the Commonwealth’s Criminal History Systems Board under the Criminal Offender Record Information Act (CORI). The Board finds not only situations where candidates are untruthful in answering the application’s criminal conviction question, but also the underreporting of criminal offenses. Remember, the Board has discretion in the licensing law to review such criminal convictions and determine whether the otherwise qualified candidate should be licensed in the Commonwealth. Even in situations where the Board would otherwise permit a candidate with a criminal conviction to become licensed, under its policy the candidate will be blocked from licensure for a period of time for having been untruthful to the Board on their licensure application. The Board checks all licensure applications under the CORI law and reminds those seeking licensure of their responsibility to be honest with the Board. Honesty in the application process reflects on the candidate’s moral character, and there will be a price to pay for dishonesty.
Showing Property with Lead Paint
Q. Can I refrain from showing a prospective tenant with children under the age of six an apartment that may have lead paint?
A. No. While the Board obviously does not enforce the state’s antidiscrimination, consumer protection, and lead paint laws, disciplinary action by the Board could be taken against such agents. Recently, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office obtained a consent resolution, following a filed litigation, against an individual and corporate real estate broker alleging that the broker violated state antidiscrimination, lead paint, and consumer protection laws. The litigation involved a rental advertisement on Craigslist that mentioned the lead paint status of the apartment. While there were no findings or admissions in that consent resolution, the Board requested a referral by the Assistant Attorney General handling the matter, mindful that the Board may be able to act under its own licensing law in situations where violations of the lead paint and anti-discrimination laws have developed. This recent effort is a good reminder that it is illegal to refuse to rent or steer families away from rental properties because they have young children. This is true even if the owner of the rental property wants the agent to do so.