If the realtors lied about the manner of death on a property, is purchase contract valid?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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If the realtors lied about the manner of death on a property, is purchase contract valid?

A death on property was disclosed, however the agents told me it was natural causes. I trusted them and also convinced me it was best to sign non-contingent offer. They said that it was my only chance at getting offer accepted buyer/seller agent working out of same office, same broker. Later I called county records and they said it was an illegal drug overdose. Some of the neighbors also told me the man was a drug addict and this may have even been suicide. The realtor and sellers are threatening to take my deposit but I refuse to put my children in this home knowing this. Are these county records and possible neighbor statements enough to void this contract? The Seller is threatening my entire 3 deposit.

Asked on August 6, 2019 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is highly unlikely that you could legally void or terminate the contract on this basis and get your deposit back. Only a material, or important, lie, for example, will be considered fraud and void an agreement. A material lie is one that goes to the purpose of the agreement: buying a habitable home. The cause or manner of that person's death is completely irrelevant to the health, safety, use, etc. of the home: whether natural causes or OD, it does not affect your ability to live there. It would therefore almost certainly be considered irrelevant or immaterial, and so not allow you to get out of tbe contract.

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