What the law says about “haunted houses”

Author and investigator Diane Diamond has a piece on selling a “stigmatized house”.

A Spooky House, the Law and You.

Anyone out there live in a haunted house? It might seem like a silly question but as home sales pick up you should know there are laws against selling a house without full disclosure.

A seller is required to reveal a number of things about their home. Like the condition of roof shingles or whether they have had issues with termites, persistent leaks or radon gas.

Now, in a growing number of states the seller must also report suspected poltergeist problems.

As she notes, this isn’t everywhere. And it’s a bit complicated, that is, is not about real ghosts but about the perception that there is something amiss with the house. Ghosts aren’t necessarily the explanation for strange happenings. It’s probably a good idea to get a home inspector to take a look at any house before purchase. Come to think of it, a home inspector might be able to ferret out some “spooky” problems like bad wiring or critter infestations.

Real estate professionals call these houses “stigmatized properties” and Diamond says that according the National Association of Realtors, about half of all states have laws regulating their sales of such properties. Disclosure would include murders, suicides, residents that had certain diseases who died there, drug manufacturing, sex crimes. She notes that these histories might discourage buyers “for fear the place might be haunted” or dangerous. Not everyone would be so nervous. A paranormal house can be a draw for some! But it seems to be in our nature to steer away from such situations. (For a great book on this, check out Bruce Hood’s Supersense / The Science of Superstition: How the Developing Brain Creates Supernatural Beliefs.

It is a bit concerning that in some legal cases on the matters, the court suggests that they consider ghosts to be genuine. We certainly have NOT established that by any means.

I can’t help but wonder if it’s SO well established that such a house is haunted, it’s an IDEAL situation to study and actually determine what is going on. But they end up calling in paranormal investigators instead who just end up confirming “paranormal activity” and that gets us no where.

We’ve covered this topic in these other stories.

Hongza haunted residences not such a big deal in a sellers market | Doubtful News.

A death in a house is not considered a “material defect” in Pennsylvania | Doubtful News.

New Jersey haunted rental nightmare is over, decided on The People’s Court | Doubtful News.

The girl in the window is beckoning you to buy this house.

The girl in the window is beckoning you to buy this house.

  2 comments for “What the law says about “haunted houses”

  1. Mike
    June 10, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    As always there is some practicality mixed in with paranormal.

    I would certainly want to know if the house was the site of a murder or drug production. Not because of any kind of paranormal event, but because it could say something about the kind of neighborhood the place is located in.

    Residents with “certain diseases”. Yes, that is quite important to know, especially if the prospective buyer is potentially at risk to contracting it.

    The sad part is that paranormal peddlers hook on to things like this in order to scam people out of money. What is next, they put a low on the books that says a home must be inspected by a Ghost Hunters organization before it can be listed?

  2. spookyparadigm
    June 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    1. I did my own post like this a few years ago, including UFOs and referencing another post on cryptids.


    2. I love that picture

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