Question: My aunt died in her home. Since her death, family members swear they have seen paranormal activity in the house. Ghost hunters were actually called to the house to investigate. I am listing the home for sale on the market. Do I need to disclose this as a “haunted house?”
Answer: Spooky? Yes. Worthy of a designation as a “haunted house?” Maybe not.
Massachusetts offers homeowners protections, to curb overreaction to “psychologically impacted” properties.The law absolves you from having to disclose such matters up front. However, if asked, you will have to come clean by properly representing the house’s history. The law is written so well, I have decided to simply reprint it below:
The fact or suspicion that real property may be or is psychologically impacted shall not be deemed to be a material fact required to be disclosed in a real estate transaction. “Psychologically impacted” shall mean an impact being the result of facts or suspicions including, but not limited to, the following:
a) that an occupant of real property is now or has been suspected to be infected with the HIV or AIDS or any other disease which reasonable medical evidence suggests to be highly unlikely to be transmitted through the occupying of a dwelling;
b) that the real property was the site of a felony, suicide or homicide; and
c) that the real property has been the site of an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.
No cause of action shall arise or be maintained against a seller or lessor of real property or a real estate broker or salesman, by statute or at common law, for failure to disclose to a buyer or tenant that the real property is or was psychologically impacted.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the provisions of this section shall not authorize a seller, lessor or real estate broker or salesman to make a misrepresentation of fact or false statement.
Attorney James Haroutunian is the founder of Priority Law and advises clients on real estate transactions. This article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.