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Are Pennsylvania home sellers required to disclose stigmas?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2013 | Residential Real Estate |

It’s the holiday season, but a story out of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, hearkens back a couple of months to Halloween. At issue: a home seller’s responsibility to disclose to a buyer the property’s allegedly haunted history. Or, should a seller have to inform a buyer of any prior deaths or violent crimes that occurred in the residence?

A seller in Dunmore said he wasn’t sure about the legal requirements, but in listing his property for sale, he decided to take the safe route and note that the home is “slightly haunted.” According to him, a buyer of the residence should expect spooky phenomena such as odd knocking sounds, ghostly footsteps, a weekly 3 a.m. scream, and a gruesome face occasionally lingering in the reflection of a bathroom mirror.

The asking price for the home is $144,000, and apparently some potential buyers and ghost enthusiasts have expressed interest.

Just to be clear: Pennsylvania law does not require sellers to disclose whether or not a house is allegedly haunted, nor are sellers in our state required to inform buyers of any violent crimes or deaths that happened on the property. No state has a requirement regarding supposed paranormal activity, and Alaska, South Dakota and California are the only states that require sellers to let buyers know if someone has died in the residence.

However, sellers are required to disclose any physical defects the property may have.

Of course, a buyer isn’t likely to be pleased to find out after the purchase that the property was once the scene of a violent crime, and buyers and sellers alike may want to speak with their real estate attorneys if there is a serious concern about the property being somehow stigmatized.

Source: NBC News, “‘Slightly haunted’ Pennsylvania home on sale for $140,000,” Steve James, Dec. 20, 2013


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