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Home sellers can keep murders, suicides secret
Planning on buying a house this year?
If you're even slightly squeamish, get ready to do some extra detective work.
If the property was the site of bloody crime, the seller does not have to divulge that scrap of information.
In a decision handed up in Pennsylvania last week, a panel of Superior Court judges reaffirmed that the sordid reputation of a home - no matter how gruesome - does not count as "material defect" and does not have to be disclosed to the buyer.
"The fact that a murder once occurred in a house falls into that category of homebuyer concerns best left to caveat emptor" - let the buyer beware, the court wrote.
The upshot to Milliken v. Jacono et al: If living within a former crime scene would keep you from a night's sleep, ask for a written warranty in the agreement of sale that states the home was never the site of a murder, suicide or other felony.
Originally posted by mcx1942
With the way people are these days, I am not surprised there is not actually a thriving market for murder houses. There are some weird people out there and a ton of them are loaded with cash.
Originally posted by missvicky
I'm suggesting you should ask your Realtor about death disclosure laws in your state. This "death disclosure" controversey came about in the aftermath of the AIDS scare. In California, because of the AIDS scare and privacy issues, the law is "If a buyer asks if there has been a death on the property? The realtor only has to answer yes if it's been within the last three years".
So, what types of things must a broker or seller disclose? Minnesota law is very clear about that the following that does NOT need to be disclosed:
Glaringly missing from this list is disclosure of murder. This is something that must be disclosed. (Source)
- Suicide, accidental death, natural death, or perceived paranormal activity
- information regarding sex offenders, as long as the seller gives written notice that information about predatory offender registry and registered offenders may be obtained by contacting local law enforcement or the department of corrections
- if the property was occupied by someone who is, or was suspected to be, infected with the HIV virus or AIDS.
- If the property is located in a neighborhood containing an adult family home, community based residential facility or nursing home