What to do if I was not told about a prior death in my recently purchased residence?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if I was not told about a prior death in my recently purchased residence?

We recently purchased a residence. On one of the questionnaires we saw that the question concerning whether a death had occurred in the house was not answered. We asked our realtor to ask the seller’s agent. The only answer we received from our realtor was that the seller’s agent said the seller said it was a very difficult sale. Because this was our first purchase and we did not know better, we went forward with the purchase later to learn the previous owner committed suicide in the house. We are going to mediation because I believe that they broke the law in not informing us of the death. What to do about damages?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In California there is a statute that requires the owner of a property that has listed it for sale to disclose if a person has died on the property within three years of the initial listing. This requirement is mandatory.

The rationale is that many people have perceptions of real property and the passing of a person on it can make a sale difficult even if the property overall would be desirable "but for" the death of some person on it.

From a practical matter, it is best for the seller to disclose everything he or she knows about the property being listed to a prospective buyer in writing.

The problem in your situation is that a prior owner committed suicide on the purchased property. Under Calfornia statute requiring such disclosure there is no statutory penalty for the failure to have disclosed. Most likely you can rescind (cancel) your purchase because if the failure to disclose but placing a dollar value for the failure to disclose seems difficult.

If the listing agent knew about the suicide and did not disclose as well, then the lisitng agent violated the statute in addition to the seller.

 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption