|Posted on February 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
Yesterday I heard in the news that a woman was murdered in a condo in Richmond Hill. When something like that happens close to home you can’t help feeling sad for the victim and their family and you wonder what the circumstances of the tragedy were.
As a Realtor I also ponder on disclosure issues when time comes to sell a condo or a house that was a murder site. In recent years there have been a number of cases where a violent death occurred in houses sold and that fact had not been disclosed to a buyer. The latest one was in November when a Bowmanville couple bought a house where a double murder had been there 15 years earlier. The couple sued their real estate agent for not disclosing that fact. *
This and other cases like it provoke interest in legal aspects of what should and should not be disclosed when a house is sold. Do sellers have to disclose that there has been a murder or suicide in their house? If positive how far back should you consider that fact?
The disclosure of such information may affect the value of the property, and almost always it will do negatively according to Toronto real estate agent and appraiser Barry Lebow. In Barry’s opinion a “death house” will not affect the properties in the neighbourhood but for the homes immediately next door to the house in question.*
However, in a condo setting, the entire building could hold a stigma I would think.
Ontario Code of Ethics for real estate agents obligates Realtors to disclose any material fact that could be important for the Buyer’s decision to purchase. The buyer can additionally protect themselves from such “unpleasant discovery” by way of inserting a clause in the offer that the seller confirms no knowledge of any murder or suicide on the property in the past years. Also it’s prudent to “google” your prospective purchase to verify its history. In this situation, no news is good news.
*according to the article by Mark Weisleder in Toronto Star of January 7th, 2013.