Gruesome incidents may not be disclosed to homebuyers

Halloween is upon us and some house hunters out there may be wondering what spooky things have occurred in the homes they’re eyeing. Tales of haunted real estate abound at this time of year, and they are often tied to a particularly traumatic incident in a home’s history. But the reality is that most prospective buyers may not find out about any such incident unless they ask.

In most states, a murder, suicide or other violent crime occurring in a home does not have to be disclosed, Walt Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, told USA Today.

Most lawmakers agree the psychological damage of such an incident in a home would not be a material defect that should be required to be disclosed to buyers, the paper said.

But at least one case is heading to a state supreme court next month. In 2007, Pennsylvania homeowner Janet Milliken found out her home, purchased the year before, had been the scene of a murder-suicide after experiencing several disturbing incidents in the home, including the sound of a gun clicking.

She filed suit against the former owner of the house and the real estate agents involved in the deal, alleging fraud and breach of the state’s real estate disclosure law.

Source: USA Today