Is a seller required to disclose, and can they be held liable for failing to disclose that a murder or suicide took place on their property? In Ohio, there is no statutory provision that mandates disclosure of such an event on a property. However the seller and their listing agent clearly have an obligation under Ohio case law to disclose any fact of which they have knowledge that could be material to the buyer’s decision to purchase the property. In the case of a murder or suicide, although such an event wouldn’t constitute a latent defect affecting the physical condition of the property, it could be considered to be a material fact to some buyers. For this reason, to avoid a potential lawsuit it may be prudent for a seller to err on the side of caution and disclose the murder or suicide to a buyer. Sellers need to understand that it is likely the buyer will find out about the event from the neighbors anyway, so it’s in their best interest to get out in front of it. Buyers are more upset (and therefore more likely to sue) when they find out about something after the fact and from a third party. Sellers certainly don’t have to share this information with everyone that looks at the house and it’s definitely not something that should be broadcast in the marketing nor is it required to be included on the Residential Property Disclosure form that is available to every potential buyer just looking at the property. Rather, the listing agent should handle this private, personal information in a sensitive manner and only make disclosure to truly interested buyers. Although you can wait until you receive an offer, the key is to disclose it before the buyer is bound by a purchase contract. Make sure that the disclosure is documented for your protection. Homeowners should consult with their attorney for additional advice on this issue.
For buyers interested in knowing if anyone has ever died in a home they are considering purchasing there is a website, Diedinhouse.com that bills itself as “the first of its kind, web-based service that helps you find out if anyone has died at any valid US address.” With pricing starting at $14,95, users can discover if there’s been a death at the property, the name and information of the deceased and even possibly the cause of death.
If you, or someone you know is considering Buying or Selling a Home in Columbus, Ohio please contact The Opland Group. We offer professional real estate advice and look forward to helping you achieve your real estate goals!
The Opland Group Specializes in Real Estate Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Short Sales in; Bexley 43209 Columbus 43201 43206 43214 43215 Delaware 43015 Dublin 43016 43017 Gahanna 43219 43230 Grandview Heights 43212 Hilliard 43026 Lewis Center 43035 New Albany 43054 Pickerington Powell 43065 Upper Arlington 43220 43221 Westerville 43081 43082 Worthington 43235