Pa. Homeowner Sues Seller Over Home's Bloody Past

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posted on Jan, 28 2013 @ 10:20 PM
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I found this article on yahoo, and I think it presents an interesting quandary. A kind of "damned if you do, and damned if you don't" type situation.


When Janet Milliken, 59, moved from California after her husband died, she had hoped to start a new life with her two teenage children in Pennsylvania near her family.
She bought a home in Thornton, Pa., for $610,000 in June 2007. She learned a few weeks after she moved in from a next-door neighbor that a murder-suicide had occurred the year before in her home.
She sued the seller and the real estate agent for fraud and misrepresentation, saying they made a "deliberate choice not to disclose the home's recent past," according to a court document.


In addition, I think this next part of the story should be taken into consideration...


Rayne said Milliken, 59, was "disturbed" when she learned of her home's history from a neighbor. "As she was struggling what and if to tell the kids," he said, her children's friends visited the home for Halloween and told the children about the murder-suicide. "They were very upset upon learning about it and disturbed about the whole situation," Rayne said. "They were dealing with the death of a father and husband and wanted to move closer to family, and then this happened to them," he said. "It was a tragedy all around."


The trial judge granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, saying state law does not require agents to disclose such events.

Source

The home in question.


OK. In my opinion, the reason this law isn't already on the books is because the state is worried about having unsaleable houses in more upscale neighborhoods. This could hurt real estate prices, and lower the value of houses surrounding it as well. Buyers frequently look at houses around the one they're purchasing, and vacant houses can add to the problem. Especially if they have a violent past.

So between the real estate brokers, and the local government, they've decided to keep things like this hush so as not to scare off potential buyers, and lower values.

I'm curious to know how ATS feels about this scenario. Is it unethical to conceal a homes past in cases like these? Or do you feel it's justified to let the buyer find out on their own after the sale has been made?
edit on 1/28/2013 by Klassified because: eta and corrections
edit on 1/28/2013 by Klassified because: clarity
edit on 1/28/2013 by Klassified because: punctuation




posted on Jan, 28 2013 @ 10:36 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


I know in my State, a Realtor is required to disclose if a house they are selling is haunted. I know sounds strange doesn't it.

Here is some info from Legal Zoom on such disclosures....for more info visit link at bottom of snippet.


According to a study by two business professors at Wright University, houses where murder or suicide have occurred can take 50% longer to sell, and at an average of 2.4 percent less than comparable homes. A California appraiser who specializes in diminution in value issues says that a well-publicized murder generally lowers selling price 15 to 35 percent.

Sometimes, a house's macabre past is an asset rather than a liability, especially if the gruesome past involves celebrities or legends. Ghosts can be a selling point for some towns that rely on their dead inhabitants for tourist appeal. Cities like St. Augustine, New Orleans, and Hollywood all provide ghost tours of popular sighting sites. In St. Augustine, a legendary haunted-house-turned-restaurant lures in diners with the prospect of seeing the house's former owner—a woman dressed in white who purportedly appears in mirrors and walks the second floor.

Do I Have to Disclose?

Sellers should disclose grisly facts about the house, so they will not be "haunted" later. Even if not required by state law, in order to soothe prospective buyers and avoid lawsuits, sellers should be upfront about their home's paranormal guests or ghoulish histories.

This article was originally published in January, 2005 and updated October, 2010.
www.legalzoom.com...


If, there is a legal provision for disclosure on haunted houses in Pa, maybe the owners can sue over future hauntings from the people who died in the home. Stranger things have happened.


Des



edit on 28-1-2013 by Destinyone because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 28 2013 @ 10:44 PM
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reply to post by Destinyone
 



If, there is a legal provision for disclosure on haunted houses in Pa, maybe the owners can sue over future hauntings from the people who died in the home.

Hey, that's some good logic there Des. Maybe I should e-mail the idea to her.


What do you personally think? Should disclosure be required, or not?



posted on Jan, 28 2013 @ 10:46 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


Yes. I do think disclosure should be required. Especially if violent deaths happened in the home. But, I believe in ghosts too....


Des



posted on Jan, 28 2013 @ 11:04 PM
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In my opinion disclosure should be required. Its not fair to any new occupants, especially in terms of potential negative impact on the unknowing. Whether they are called ghosts or spirits, or believed in or not, it can be hard to ignore resonating negative energy, especially in a place you live.
I feel sorry for the above family that lost their case!



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 05:07 AM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


CAVEAT EMPTOR :

if prospectiv house buyers are so carven , that the fact that a murder occured at a property frightens them - its thier duty to research the house fully

potential buyers alread employ solicitors and surveyors to determine that the house is structurally sound , worth the asking price , actually legally on the market , etc etc etc

if crime scenses bother them so much - it should be a point to brief thier solicitior on



posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 05:58 AM
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Originally posted by ignorant_ape
reply to post by Klassified
 


CAVEAT EMPTOR :

if prospectiv house buyers are so carven , that the fact that a murder occured at a property frightens them - its thier duty to research the house fully

potential buyers alread employ solicitors and surveyors to determine that the house is structurally sound , worth the asking price , actually legally on the market , etc etc etc

if crime scenses bother them so much - it should be a point to brief thier solicitior on


Negative. It's the seller's duty to disclose. Wouldn't it have saved them a whole lot of angst and bother later on if they had disclosed it during the first house inspection? Now that quick sale is in jeopardy and the issue's probably going to court. What's better - a crap shoot judgement from a court or a locked-in sale to someone who sincerely couldn't care less about the fact a violent crime occurred in the house? Doesn't take all that much thinkin' power to work out that particular riddle.

Did the seller and their real estate agent think that the neighbours' kids wouldn't mention it to the new owner's kids? Anything for a quick buck. Shame.

Interestingly, I'm looking the same situation right in the eye. Tonight I had new neighbours move in. The previous owners - a nice couple - were rocked by tragedy when the girl walked out on the guy, taking their kids - distraught, the guy committed suicide in the bathroom. I can't help but wonder whether the new neighbours know about this VERY recent history of the house? I'm not really all that motivated to inform them either - if they don't know it'd really suck the joy out of their new house purchase. It's not like they bought it to rent out, they live there now - it's their home that they bought to raise a family in.





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