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I’m not an attorney, and I’m not licensed to sell real estate.
The following is not intended as legal advice, or any interpretation of the law. It’s just a starting point for people who own a haunted house — or a home with a ‘haunted’ reputation — so you can learn whether that fact must be disclosed during the sale.
The fact that a house that is haunted, or has a reputation as ‘haunted’, might be a material fact that the seller must disclose. Some realtors recommend telling the prospective buyers, while some attorneys have other opinions. (See links in my “Resources” section, below.)
Many states have laws the directly address the ‘haunted’ issue. Others more generally talk about ‘stigmatized’ property, and the significance of the stigma (such as a ‘haunted’ reputation) is decided on a case-by-case basis.
If you have questions, I strongly recommend talking first with a realtor, and then with an attorney who specializes in real estate and property law.
I also suggest consulting a professional ghost investigator who is trained to rule out weird — but entirely normal — problems that can make a house merely seem haunted. Most of those issues are covered in my book, “Is Your House Haunted?”
- Stigma Busters – A Primer on Selling Haunted Houses and Other Stigmatized Property, by Marc Ben-Ezra and Asher Perlin, Probate & Property, May/June 2005 (URL: http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publishing/probate_property_magazine/rppt_mo_premium_rp_publications_magazine_2005_mj_perlin.authcheckdam.pdf )
- Do You See Dead People? Disclose It, by Broderick Perkins, Realty Times, 23 Oct 2003
- Canada and NY: Selling the Haunted House, by Barry Lebow, REM – Real Estate Magazine for the Canadian Real Estate Professional, 1 Apr 2003
- The Law &You – Put stigmas in their place, by Barbara Nichols, Realtor magazine online, 1 Dec 2000.
- Hawaii: Leaks, Cracks, and Hauntings: Real Estate Disclosures (missing article) by Stephanie Gieseler, AroundHawaii.com
- Ghosts and Haunted Houses Can Be a Nightmare for Home Owners, by James Hellegaard, 30 Oct 1996
- New York: Fortean Slips: Ex Ghost Facto, by D. Trull, and the related June 1995 story, Caveat Specter, by Tim Madigan, CSICOP On-line
- New York: New York’s Haunted Houses, by Patrick McGrath, New York Times, 12 Jul 1995
- Generally, what type of things must be disclosed to a buyer regarding a property for sale?, AnswerBag.com
SOME STATE LAWS RELEVANT TO ‘HAUNTED’ REAL ESTATE SALES
|California Civil Code § 1710.2
Colorado Rev. Stat. Ann. § 38–35.5–101
Connecticut Gen. Statutes. § 20–329dd
Delaware Code Ann. title 24, § 2930
Florida Statutes § 689.25
Georgia Code Ann. § 44–1–16
Hawaii Rev. Statutes § 467–14(18)
Idaho Code § 55–2802
Kentucky Rev. Stat. Ann. § 207.250
Louisiana Rev. Stat. Ann. § 37:1468
Maryland Code Ann., Real Property § 2–120
|Missouri Ann. Stat. § 442.600
New Mexico Stat. Ann. § 47–13–2
Oklahoma Statutes title 59, § 858–513
Oregon Rev. Stat. § 93.275
Rhode Island Gen. Laws § 5–20.8–6
South Carolina Code Ann. § 27–50–90
South Dakota Codified Laws § 43–4–44
Texas Property Code Ann. § 5.008(c)
Utah Code Ann. § 57–1–37
Virginia Code Ann. § 55–524