Have you recently bought a house and now notice weird things happening? Strange sounds, lights flickering, or even seeing ghosts? Or maybe you are talking to a neighbor and they ask you a startling question:
Why did you buy the Murder House? Is it as scary as they say?
You may be finding out that you bought something called stigmatized property. The definition of stigmatized property is as follows:
a home or apartment where there has been a suicide, murder, cult activity, AIDS, famous adulteries, or other misfortunes and crimes.
This information comes from
According to Legalmatch, The general rule in property buying and selling is caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.
A seller has a duty to reply truthfully when asked questions about the home. Is it haunted? or Were there any deaths here? are examples of what you can ask, and they have to answer truthfully. If you don't ask, however, they are not obliged to tell you about it.
However, there are exceptions, and these often depend on what state you are in. These exceptions include:
Hauntings, ghost sightings, or any other unexplained events that occur in or around the house and property that could affect the value of the property.
If a murder or suicide took place in the home, some states require this information be disclosed if it occurred within three years.
Criminal activity, which includes drug activity or prostitution, that might have occurred from the home.
Were the previous home owners in outstanding debt? You should be warned about harassing phone calls from debtors.
According to Mahoning Valley REALstuff, Ohio has no laws about stigmatized property. If directly asked by a client or customer about a murder, suicide, or strange paranormal issues connected with the property, the brokers or agents are required to answer honestly and completely. This was news to me. In a case I worked on in 2005, in Alliance, Ohio, the house in question was known to be haunted by everyone but the person who moved into it. The Landlord failed to tell her about it and because it affected her 6 year old son, he found them another house to live in, across town. Yes, it pays to do a little research on any property you are looking to buy OR RENT.
Here are a few more web sites to consult that might be of help:
http://dornish.net/seller-beware-of-pas-disclosure-law (In Pennsylvania)
There are many other web sites out there, but for the whole, it is a grey area for many states.
DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU COMMITT TO BUYING ANY PROPERTY. If you ask and they don't tell you, they may be liable and you may be able to get our of your contract. Let the buyer beware and cover your own butt! RESEARCH IT FIRST!