Is Disclosure Necessary when someone has died in the house??

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Progroup Realty
 Someone who lives alone has died in the house and their body has not been found for about a month. The neighbors obviously know because the police show up to investigate. It is found to be death by natural causes. Normally one would have to disclose if it were a murder or something like that. But a death by natural causes? Is it necessary to disclose? My initial feeling is "NO". But then I think about the neighbors telling a buyer after the fact and the buyer being irate because they  probably would not have looked at the house if they had known. What are your thoughts on this?

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David Soto - Illinois Home Loans & Mortgages
Illinois Home Loans & Mortgage Refinance - Chicago, IL
i dont know about your state but where i am from we dont need to disclose it, but we can denied the fact either if it is brought up
Mar 09, 2008 05:58 PM #3
Margaret Shapiro
RE/MAX Progroup Realty - Ladner, BC
Thanks . That was my first reaction. But I know how people talk and I also know there are certain people and cultures who do not want to live in a house where someone has died.
Mar 09, 2008 06:00 PM #4
Mary Warren
Las Vegas, NV
My understanding if the death is by natural causes there is no disclosure necessary.  Although I think if I knew I would suggest to the sellers to disclose it and let them make the decision.  Better to be safe than sorry.
Mar 09, 2008 06:09 PM #5
Mark Hawley
Keller Williams Realty - Indio, CA

California requires you to disclose any death in the home in the past three years.


(Supplemental Statuatory and Contractual Disclosures form)

Mar 09, 2008 06:10 PM #6
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

I would guess that this would be something that might be governed by the local state real estate commission... as the above comment mentions about California.

And... Margaret... I love your Active Rain "logo"... your picture with your sign.  Great imagination.  Take care... and stay warm.

Mar 09, 2008 06:13 PM #7
Carol Lee
Dilbeck Real Estate - Oak Park, CA
Realtor - Agoura, Oak Park, Westlake CA Homes
If you have to ask, then it should be disclosed!   Here in CA, as Mark said, it must be.
Mar 09, 2008 07:03 PM #8
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA
In my State, you do not have to disclose a death on a property. However, as stated above it is best to check your State Real Estate Commission's rules and regulations.
Mar 10, 2008 04:39 AM #9
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate
Not necessary here, but if asked.....disclose!
Mar 10, 2008 02:36 PM #10
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS
As all commented before me, I would check your local regulations. In many areas it does not have to be disclosed no matter  the  type of death, i.e., suicide, homicide, natural causes etc.  If asked, you must disclose.
Mar 10, 2008 03:15 PM #11
Megan McGonigal
Integrity Real Estate - Northeast, MD
CRP - Cecil County, MD & Harford County, MD Real Estate
Not where I live in Maryland.
Mar 10, 2008 03:17 PM #12
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR
No, but if someone asks freely share what you know.
Mar 10, 2008 03:41 PM #13
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

It depends on state laws. But some people are superstitious and want to know .You should tell the truth if you know and they ask you. I once had a client who asked, and I offered to ask the listing agent.

Mar 11, 2008 12:47 AM #14
Larry Estabrooks
Independent Real Estate Agent - Moncton, NB
100% representation means NEVER DUAL AGENCY !

This comes under disclosure of a stigma with respect to real property.

If your jurisdiction has legislation that adresses the disclosure of a stigma, then legislation is what a licensee must follow.

If not covered under legislation and you are representing the seller as a seller's agent, then you must ask the seller and follow the seller's legal instructions as to the disclosure.

However if you are representing the buyer as the buyer's agent then you owe the fiduciary duty of full disclosure, so you must disclose any stigma. It's then up to your buyer client to determine if the stigma is relevant.


Mar 11, 2008 08:38 AM #15
Cristal Drake
Prudential California Realty - Fullerton, CA
Realtor - Fullerton Real Estate

I think you got the picture in Cali.  In this state, we disclose.  But I think even if we didn't have to disclose it here, I would want to know. 

Mar 11, 2008 06:31 PM #16
April Hayden-Munson
Brookfield, WI
Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate

What timing for your blog! I will be listing a house in the next couple weeks where an elderly gentleman - years ago died of natural causes.  My sellers weren't aware when they purchased, but the neighbors hot footed it over to their house after closing to let them know. They weren't upset about it - thank goodness.  BUT - now the dilemma of should MY sellers'  disclose it?

Margaret - what do think after these comments???

Mar 12, 2008 07:26 AM #17
Margaret Shapiro
RE/MAX Progroup Realty - Ladner, BC

Hi April and everyone else who responded,

I've decided that , no matter what, I will disclose that someone died in the house. It could be mildly important to some but Very important to others. It has been suggested that I do this via the property disclosure statement. The executor will cross everything out because he never lived there. However, it will state that the owner was found deceased in the home and will itemize what was done to resolve / rectify the issue; namely, a professional cleaning/ restoration company cleaned the room in which he died and cut out the section of carpet on which he died. Then the floor was treated with KILZ, which seals any odors in to the wood permanently. The the whole house received the ozone shock treatment to get rid of any odors permanently. The new wall to wall carpeting was  installed. 

Mar 13, 2008 03:10 PM #18
Angela Reeves
Royal LePage West Real Estate Services - Coquitlam, BC
Angela Reeves

Good question - I wouldn't have known the answer either.   I'll be checking to see what the regulations are in my neck of the woods.

When we bought our home we tracked down a faint odor to a petrified squirrel behind a wall (eventually) - nobody disclosed that LOL!!

Nov 24, 2008 12:39 PM #19
Margaret Shapiro

Thanks everyone for responding. I did check with our Real Estate Board and the answer is YES- it does need to be disclosed before we have an accepted offer. The reason is- even though it was death by natural causes, it is still considered to be a "stigmatized property" and could affect a buyer's decision to purchase.

Nov 24, 2008 12:52 PM #20
Joseph D. Federico
Donahue Real Estate Co. - Dedham, MA
Eastern Massachusetts Real Estate

Margaret-I think with the cost of nursing homes getting pretty expensive, most people are choosing to go home and die. So many of the homes for sale today, especially the estate sales have had an owner die in the home.

Nov 25, 2008 12:15 AM #21

I think if asked you have to disclose and if its natural causes and a while ago its not the same as a murder or untimely accident.

I say this , probably sounding wierd but im a renter who moved into my townhome 5 months ago and  just learned a woman my age fell down the stairs before i moved in, and cracked her head open and layed at the bottom of the stairs for two days till they found her.  (it went into foreclosure no one touched it) until my landlord bought it but he is from Canada and never set foot in the house. 

four days  after my move, in  ..strange things have been happening to me.Just me ,not my children,  brown recluse spider bites..a knife slipped and stabbed me in my forearm ER for stitches,..2 kidney attacks, I blew out my knee, a flood..and the Tv turned itself on and only a white light was on in my bedroom.until i said ENOUGH!!! .Had i known this I would not have rented here . I did ask and they said no she died after it went into foreclosure.


Im reading this article  to see if my medical bills (over 8000 so far)  for all those mishaps should be reimbursed to me by my landlord or realtor because they didnt give me the facts when i moved in . Im definitly  not a clutz and all those calamities in less than 5 months is strange or very coincidental. Im thinking there is an energy or desceased woman who is not at peace and im who she is mad at.

I dont know florida laws but it seems in california you have to disclose it.any opinions on if i can ask for reimbursement???



Nov 15, 2011 02:22 PM #22
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