Do Sellers Have to Disclose if a House is Haunted or Someone Died in It?
Recently, a friend of mine posted a very interesting question on Facebook. She asked something along the lines of, "If you know a house is haunted, do you have to disclose the haunting when you sell it?"
Hmmm, loaded question, huh? Some people believe in ghosts and spirits - some do not. And it's believed that some people are more sensitive to the dealings of the "other world." What you experience in a house might never be noticed by another occupant.
But, there's a legal question too. And, it doesn't just apply to hauntings. Unfortunately, sometimes houses are the site of tragedies which include loss of life. So, are you required to disclose any of these things when you sell a residence?
I asked my mother-in-law, Elaine Sollars, who is a realtor for F.C. Tucker Emge Realtors. Apparently, the laws are different in every state.
In the state of Indiana, you are not required to disclose if you think a house is haunted or if someone died in the home but you may not misrepresent or lie if a potential buyer asks. Indiana’s Residential Real Estate Disclosure Law, Ind. Code §32-21-5-2 requires sellers of residential property to complete a standard form which asks about building structure - and doesn't mention strange paranormal activity. It does require that the seller disclose if the house was once used as a meth lab. Well, that's... good!
Kentucky seems to be very similar. The Kentucky Real Estate Commission states, "Since June 24, 2003, KRS 324.162 has governed an agent’s duty to disclose. As a result of that law, real estate agents are not required to disclose, upfront, any stigmas associated with a property, such as a murder, a suicide, or a violent crime that has occurred at the property. However, licensees are still required to answer any and all direct questions in an honest manner, including questions regarding stigmas."
So there you have it. It's the buyer's responsibility to ask the right questions. Buyer beware!