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Selling a Haunted House: Do You Need to Disclose That It’s Haunted?

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When selling or buying a house, is it necessary for information to be disclose on whether it’s haunted or has paranormal activity? That is a question Zillow recently investigated.

In its analysis, it found that most states don’t require home sellers to disclose that information, but there are such real estate disclosure laws in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota.

So, if you have a haunted house and fail to inform the buyer or if you are a buyer of a haunted house, but that information wasn't disclosed to you in advance of the purchase, under some courts the home sale can be rescinded. This is possible in New York state. In New Jersey state, it would apply if the buyer asked.

What About a Death on the Property?

Someone dying on the property may not necessarily mean the house is haunted, but there are in fact laws around the disclosure of a death on the property. 

According to Zillow’s analysis, there are nine states with disclosure of a death on the property laws. “In California, sellers must disclose a death on the property within 3 years. In Alaska, a death within one year must be disclosed. In South Dakota, sellers must disclose a homicide on the property.”

Other states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Carolina require sellers to disclose a death on the property only if asked. 

For a full break-down, Zillow offered this table below for review:

State

Direct Mention
to Paranormal
Activity in State
Law?

Court Decisions
related to
Paranormal Activity

Statutory Language

Alabama

No

A court ruled that a  seller must disclose any material (important) defect or condition that (1) affects health or safety and (2) is unknown to the buyer

N/A

Alaska

No

N/A

Seller must disclose, if knows, murder or suicide on property w/in last year. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

Arizona

No

A court ruled that a  seller must disclose important facts that might negatively affect the value of the property.

N/A

Arkansas

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property (Homicide/suicide). Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

California

No

A court ruled that a death on property may be material if the death has a major effect on the value of the property

Seller must disclose death on property w/in last 3 years

Colorado

No

N/A

Facts that could cause psychological impact or stigma, such as death, are NOT required to be disclosed. Paranormal activity likely not required to be disclosed

Connecticut

No

N/A

Unimportant facts, such as death (and although no caselaw, likely paranormal activity) don't need to be disclosed. Seller must tell buyer about murder or suicide if buyer asks.

Delaware

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property. Seller must answer truthfully if buyer asks about psychological impacts. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

District of Columbia

No

N/A

N/A

Florida

No

N/A

Unimportant facts, such as deaths, don't need to be disclosed

Georgia

No

N/A

Seller not required to disclose deaths but should respond truthfully if asked

Hawaii

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose any occurrence that had no effect on the physical structure or the physical environment of the property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

Idaho

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

Illinois

No

N/A

N/A

Indiana

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

Iowa

No

N/A

N/A

Kansas

No

N/A

Seller only needs to disclose important physical facts about property. Paranormal, Stigma, or psychologic impacts NOT mentioned

Kentucky

No

N/A

N/A

Louisiana

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

Maine

No

N/A

N/A

Maryland

No

N/A

N/A

Massachusetts

Yes

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property, including an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.

Michigan

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose any fact that had no important effect on condition of property.

Minnesota

Yes

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose any fact that doesn't affect buyer's use or enjoyment of the property, including "perceived paranormal activity ..."

Mississippi

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose fact that a death occurred on property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

Missouri

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

Montana

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose any fact that had no important effect on condition of property.

Nebraska

No

N/A

N/A

Nevada

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose fact that a death occurred on property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

New Hampshire

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose fact that a homicide or suicide occurred on property. Seller must disclose if buyer asks. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

New Jersey

Yes

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose "psychological impairments" (murder, suicide, or "a property purportedly being haunted"). Seller should disclose known info if buyer asks

New Mexico

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose fact that a homicide or suicide occurred on property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

New York

Yes

Referring to paranormal activity at a home, courts will rescind the sale if the seller (1) takes unfair advantage of buyer's ignorance as to the house's reputation [of paranormal activity] and (2) the seller herself creates and perpetuates that reputation.

Excluding case law, a seller doesn't need to disclose that the house was site of homicide, suicide, or accident.

North Carolina

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose fact that a death occurred on property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

North Dakota

No

N/A

N/A

Ohio

No

N/A

N/A

Oklahoma

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property. Seller must disclose if buyer asks and a suicide or homicide on property is important to decision. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

Oregon

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose any fact that had no important effect on condition of property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

Pennsylvania

No

A court ruled that purely psychological stigmas are not important defects of property that sellers must disclose to buyers.

N/A

Rhode Island

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

South Carolina

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose psychologically affected property (death or manner of death). Seller must disclose if buyer asks about psychological impacts. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

South Dakota

No

N/A

Seller must disclose if homicide occurred on property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

Tennessee

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose any act/occurrence that had no effect on physical structure of property, or that there was a homicide or suicide on property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned.

Texas

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose fact that a death occurred on property. Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

Utah

No

N/A

Seller doesn't need to disclose fact that property is "stigmatized." Paranormal activity NOT mentioned

Vermont

No

N/A

N/A

Virginia

No

N/A

N/A

Washington

No

N/A

N/A

West Virginia

No

N/A

N/A

Wisconsin

No

N/A

N/A

Wyoming

No

N/A

N/A

Happy Haunted House Selling and Buying!

       

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