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Are There Disclosure Requirements for Haunted Houses?

When selling a house in the US, the owner is required by law to disclose certain types of information about it, including the property taxes on it, problems with mold or dry rot. In the case of haunted houses, the seller may have to tell the owner about the ghost. Though laws vary by region, many places have statutes requiring owners to tell potential buyers about any deaths that have occurred in the house or on the property within a certain time period, or if the buyer asks about any deaths. If the owner doesn't disclose this information to the potential buyer, he or she may be open to a lawsuit.

More about haunted houses:

  • At least one US seller has been successfully sued (Stambovsky v. Ackley) for not disclosing the fact that her house was haunted. Helen Ackley sold her house to Jeffrey Stambovsky without telling him that it was haunted, despite having publicized the fact earlier by giving interviews in newspapers about the house and having it included in a paranormal walking tour. Stambovsky sued for fraudulent misrepresentation and was able to break the contract and get his down payment back.

  • Possible reasons why people might think a house is haunted include creaking floorboards, drafts, carbon monoxide leaks, and a psychological phenomenon called confirmation bias, in which people see ghosts because they expect them to be there.

  • Houses where murders or suicides have occurred generally take longer to sell than other and sell for a lower price.

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Discuss this Article

Viranty
Post 3

The second bullet point is very interesting, and it gives some very legitimate evidence that people who see ghosts might be letting their mind play tricks on them. For example, where the creaky floorboards and drafts are mentioned, have you ever noticed that most "haunted" houses are old and run down? When a place is dark and desolate, of course it's going to be creepy and give off a place of loneliness. While I wouldn't say that dismisses all evidence of paranoia, it does dismiss quite a bit.

Krunchyman
Post 2

Reading this article reminds me of the movie called Paranormal Activity. I'm sure many have seen it, so I don't need to explain the plot. However, I feel that the movie might be an exaggeration of houses that end up being haunted. Regardless, I have always been interested in the supernatural, and this article intrigues me, to say the least. One thing I wonder though, is how houses can end up getting haunted by someone's spirit in the first place, especially if you believe in the afterlife. Maybe these "haunted" houses are just people letting their imagination getting the best of them.

Chmander
Post 1

I think the reason why houses where murderers and suicides have happened take longer to sell, is because many people are afraid to go in there, because it might be haunted, or a "spirit", so to speak, might even be living in the house. Even though there are those who don't believe in the supernatural, I still think it's something to take into consideration, as you never know what might happen if you aren't careful.

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