Sue recently purchased a new home. She writes that she closed on the house…and then learned that the previous owner had committed suicide somewhere inside it. She wouldn’t have bought the house had she known. The real estate agents claim that they weren’t aware of the situation, but if they had, did they have any moral obligation to tell her?
Here’s my story:
- Friday, January 15th – Closed on our new house
- Sunday, January 17th – Learned from a neighbor that the previous owner had committed suicide in the house.
Things to note:
- Had I been given the history of what occurred, I would not have bought the home.
- Both the listing and buyers agent worked in the [redacted] office.
- Coldwell is claiming that neither agent was aware.
- They are doing nothing to rectify the situation
Shockingly, the law does not require that this information be disclosed to a buyer per
Chapter 93, Section 114 of the Mass General Laws.
My questions are:
1 – Why would the law be rewritten such that this type of circumstance does not require disclosure?
2 – Isn’t there a moral/ethical component that should be taken into consideration?
Here’s the Massachusetts law Sue is referring to.
Section 114. The fact or suspicion that real property may be or is psychologically impacted shall not be deemed to be a material fact required to be disclosed in a real estate transaction. “Psychologically impacted” shall mean an impact being the result of facts or suspicions including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) that an occupant of real property is now or has been suspected to be infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or any other disease which reasonable medical evidence suggests to be highly unlikely to be transmitted through the occupying of a dwelling;
(b) that the real property was the site of a felony, suicide or homicide; and
(c) that the real property has been the site of an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.
Update: Sue wrote back to say that she is currently living in the house and, in her words, “not as disturbed as [she] was when [she] initially contacted [Consumerist],” but we think that it still makes an interesting question.
The law doesn’t require realtors to tell you about this, but does common decency? That depends on whether previous events in your home affect you in any way. Unless a location-fixated serial killer plans to return, or you believe in ghosts, would it affect your life?