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-   -   Haunted residence grounds for breaking lease? (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=9876)

snopes 05 June 2007 06:17 PM

Haunted residence grounds for breaking lease?
 
Comment: Is it true that a renter in California can legally break his or
her lease if he or she discovers that the residence is haunted, and the
haunting was not disclosed by the landlord before the lease was signed?

I live in California, but the only evidence I can find for this is
anecdotal, at best. (Not asking for myself, happily!)

ericsmom 05 June 2007 08:39 PM

Not all states, but the term for it is "stigmatized property"

"by loose definition, is the site or suspected site of a murder or suicide, criminal activity or even a resident poltergeist. About 30 states have specific laws on the books saying that agents and sellers cannot be held liable for not disclosing such nonmaterial, or nonphysical, "defects" about a house. Agents do have an obligation to disclose any "latent defects" to the buyer if they may materially affect the physical health or safety of individuals on the premises, but rarely would a suicide or murder on the premises meet that standard. "

Malalaise 05 June 2007 09:08 PM

So the question now is how naughty must a ghost be to allow you to break your lease?

Artemis 05 June 2007 09:14 PM

Wasn't that basically why the Amityville Horror family faked the ghosts/poltergeists in their house?

ericsmom 05 June 2007 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Artemis (Post 199505)
Wasn't that basically why the Amityville Horror family faked the ghosts/poltergeists in their house?

I'm not sure why the Lutz's faked it, but it could have something to do with the excuses Ron DeFeo had for murdering his family in the house.

Blackhawk 06 June 2007 04:17 AM

Does finding a large bloodstain count as an exception to "nonmaterial"? A friend bought a house in Georgia that had one piece of furniture left in the house- a bed. When they removed said bed there was a large bloodstain underneath on the wood flooring. It seems the previous owner had commited suicide by shooting himself in bed and the stain was never able to be removed. The agent never disclosed this to the family until they asked about it.

Rehcsif 06 June 2007 05:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackhawk (Post 199942)
Does finding a large bloodstain count as an exception to "nonmaterial"? A friend bought a house in Georgia that had one piece of furniture left in the house- a bed. When they removed said bed there was a large bloodstain underneath on the wood flooring. It seems the previous owner had commited suicide by shooting himself in bed and the stain was never able to be removed. The agent never disclosed this to the family until they asked about it.

I would say yes, it's material, and would be grounds for compensation of some sort if they tried to cover it up. But it has little to do with the fact that it's blood/suicide... the same would be true if there was a huge water stain there that they tried to cover up with the bed.

-Tim

Grendel 07 June 2007 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rehcsif (Post 199999)
I would say yes, it's material, and would be grounds for compensation of some sort if they tried to cover it up. But it has little to do with the fact that it's blood/suicide... the same would be true if there was a huge water stain there that they tried to cover up with the bed.

-Tim

Actually, a water stain would probably be worse, as it might indicate undisclosed plumbing or water ingress problems.

RBCal 07 June 2007 08:50 PM

In California on the mandated legal disclosure forms you have to state whether someone has died in the house within the last two years. When I bought my house they answered yes to this question.

RivkahChaya 10 June 2007 06:30 AM

When I was looking at houses a few years ago, there was one that was priced about $15,000 below what was to be expected for the area and age & size of the house. Turned out it had been on the market for a couple of years with no buyers, because the previous owner had comitted suicide in the house.

Since I don't freak out easily, I seriously considered buying it, but at the last minute, something a little smaller, lower priced, and needing a lot less work came on the market, so I bought that instead.

I've gotten married and had a baby since then, and now the current house seems awfully small, and I often wish I'd bought the "suicide" house instead.

So sometimes other people's superstitions can be good for those who don't share them.

If I hadn't asked about the low price, wondering what roofing or plumbing defect was being concealed, I don't know whether the realtor would have told me about the suicide or not.

As far as the Lutzes-- the impression I've gotten from what I've read was not that they even faked the haunting, but that they simply made up a story out of whole cloth after moving out, because they needed to make some money fast.


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