Must a ‘haunting’ be disclosed to a home buyer or renter?
One couple of Toms River, New Jersey would like to think so. Jose Chinchilla and his fiancée Michele Callan are suing their landlord for $2,250 (their security deposit) claiming that an abundance of paranormal activity has forced them to vacate their house only a week after moving into the rental home.
The couple said that odd thing began to happen soon after moving in. Footsteps, whispers, lights flickering, and doors slamming were reported throughout the house. Clothes that were folded and put away would later be found lying on the floor, where the couple claimed to record a voice saying “Let it burn.”
While the couple, the haunted house, and even a team of ghost busters have been featured on news across the country, not everyone is buying the story. Landlord Richard Lopez, an orthodontist whose practice neighbors the house in question says that the couple made it up- they could not afford rent and wanted out of their one year lease.
Lopez has filed a counter suit; the hearing is expected at the end of April.
Must home sellers disclose paranormal activity?
Most real estate laws require sellers to disclose “material facts” such as structural concerns, age of rood and shingles, leaks in the foundation and walls, existing mold and mildew, and total square footage.
Items not considered material facts include personal information about the seller, such as pending foreclosure or divorce, illness of the seller, and the seller’s reasons for moving. But what if the seller’s reason for moving involves the paranormal?
Death on a property may be material. According to Civil Code 1710.2, deaths on a property need not be disclosed if it occurred more than three years prior to the sale. But it does require disclosure if the buyer asks. Some states even require sellers to disclose “stigmas” attached to the property, which can include proximity to homeless shelters and if it was the scene of a violent crime.
Do you have to disclose?
Sellers should disclose grisly facts about the house, so that they will not be haunted by it later. While it might not be required by law, being upfront about a home’s paranormal guests of history would help get you out of cases like the one in Toms River.
With all of that said, the most important thing on your buyers mind will be location, not ghosts. That’s why providing maps of local interests including schools, parks, churches, airports and other important destinations around your properties can help make that sale. MarketMAPS provides real estate companies with accurate geographic visuals, customizing details like logos, icons, labels, text, color shading and more, to provide your properties with the best representation.
Visit us at www.MarketMAPS.com