When an unfortunate situation takes place within a home and does not damage the property but still deters homebuyers, this is called a stigmatized property. Murder, poltergeists, and many such tales can cause a home to be frightening and unwanted. If the people living in the house before had AIDS, or any other such diseases, this too can cause buyer avoidance.
Stigmatized properties were only mentioned in the laws of thirty one states as of 2001. Disclosure concerning a stigmatized house was not mandatory by the majority of those laws. Even though material issues with the home have to be told to potential buyers, psychological issues do not.
If the state laws do demand that a seller admits to any stigmata which is on the property, it can be quite a dilemma. You may not have to share it, if the stigmata is merely a rumor. Because federal housing laws give HIV patients the same rights as disabled people, it may be illegal to inform new buyers if the former tenants had AIDS.
Mentioning to the homebuyer that they should research the house’s history may be the best answer. In instances of death by suicide or homicide, research can tell if the story is true. Simply search old news reports for the address of the home.
Cases such as these should probably be disclosed. Since the new buyer can find out so easily, go ahead and tell them. Once you have disclosed the circumstances, past murder or suicide cannot be legally used to change their minds on a deal.
If your home may be a stigmatized one, you should check your state’s laws to see if you are required to disclose that information to buyers. If disclosure is your state’s law, then you must be certain the rumors are valid. Then you can choose whether to disclose that information to the buyer or not. Always keep in mind, in cases where the homebuyer asks, it is your obligation to tell them the truth.
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