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ethical question

April 21st, 2010 at 02:22 pm

My dad has several rental houses. One of his renters called and wanted to know if he had anything bigger they could rent since they are having twins. He is a good renter and since dad can't get a decent interest on his cash he decided to look for a bigger house to buy. He found one that's a really good price $210K and large enough. The last time it sold it was for $250K. The owner died and his parents are selling it from out of state. They are even including all the furniture, a big screen tv and all appliances. The renters like the house so dad went ahead and bought it. He will get $1200/month rent. After he bought it the renter found out the owner had hung himself in the garage. He wasn't upset about that, but wasn't planning to tell his wife or kids. Mom says he needs to because the neighbors are bound to tell her.

Anyways my question is shouldn't the realtor have mentioned that someone died in the house before selling it? Some people might have serious reservations about that kind of thing. I think ethically she should have said something. Dad found out she knew it before selling the house.

I finished reading the library book Cast in Silence by Michelle Sagara. Paranormal - excellent series.

17 Responses to “ethical question”

  1. mrs Says:


    I would think that the realtor should disclose information which might factor into someone's decision making. I believe that things like sex offenders in the area should be disclosed as well.

  2. whitestripe Says:

    Personally that kind of thing wouldn't bother me but I do see how some people could be sensitive about it.

  3. blackdiamond Says:

    I don't see how it matters. People die all the time in their houses. Unless it was a violent crime (neighborhood crime rate should be told to buyers), a death in a house has nothing to do with the property value.

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I understand in some places it is now the law to inform buyers if there was a death by non natural causes in the house. See if Google has any local answers.

  5. miz pat Says:

    Its is the law in California to inform people of death's in a house. This has something to do with fear of ghosts. Apparently people are only supposed to die in hospitals these days.

  6. Broken Arrow Says:

    I go with whatever legal law is on the books.

    That said... I think the family should be told about what happened before they go through with it. While that would not bother me, it may bother them. And this could become a real tenant problem if they should find out after the fact.

    And yes, they're bound to find out eventually.

    Let them know what happened, assure them the best you can, but let them decide if this is something that will bother them or not.

  7. joanie Says:

    In California it is the law that something like a suicide in the house must be disclosed. VERY unethical seller.

  8. elisabeth Says:

    Check your laws in Colorado. You may have recourse with the realtor/seller. I seem to remember signing something in Maryland re: this. Each state is different.

  9. debtfreeme Says:

    In California civil code 1710.2 says sellers are supposed to notify the buyers if a death occured in or on the property within the last three years. If a buyer discovers that there was a death on the property in the three years prior to purchase then the buyer may sue the seller for rescission or damages.

    If the death is more than three years old, it must be disclosed if the buy asks.

  10. debtfreeme Says:

    and in california the only disclosure for sex offenders is that there is a database for for to research if they wish. it is not a reqired disclosure for the seller.

    According to Colorado law (a qick perusal and question to attorney in Colorado-friend) the only disclosures required are:
    •Plumbing and sewage problems
    •Water leakage of any type, including in basements
    •Termites or other insect infestations
    •Roof defects
    •Heating or air conditioning system and electrical or other mechanical system problems
    •Property drainage problems
    •Foundation instabilities or cracks
    •Problems with title to the property
    •Environmental conditions such as hazardous materials located on the property
    •Whether a methamphetamine lab was located on the property, and that the remediation cleanup has not occurred
    •Whether property is part of a homeowners' association
    •Designate the water source for the property
    •Lead paint (required under the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 for homes built prior to 1978)

    But it is a good ethical question. Now, will you dad disclose to both of the renters? That is the legal question for your dad to know. The only required notification was the lead paint in buildings built pre 1978. But there could be others?

  11. retire@50 Says:

    What's ethical and what's legal isn't always the same. Personally I think it should be disclosed since it could affect someone's buying decision. Some people would be very upset to find they were living in a house where someone committed suicide. Some people won't have a problem with it, but if someone bought a house who did mind it, what are they supposed to do, turn around and spend thousand to resell it? I just think it's more ethical to put it out there.

  12. blackdiamond Says:

    I'm shocked that in 2010 we have laws on the books because of "fear of ghosts"...

  13. ceejay74 Says:

    LOL, I'm with you blackdiamond. Why on earth should a suicide matter to the buyers that come after? Like you said, a violent crime that has to do with the neighborhood the home is in, that's one thing. Sure a suicide is sad, but it doesn't put the next family in any danger.

    If a buyer is that superstitious they should have to specifically tell their agent that they need to be notified of any deaths in the places they're looking at. If the agent concealed info at that point, sure, way unethical. But why would they assume the potential buyers are superstitious? It's like assuming someone is one religion or another.

  14. nmboone Says:

    Ok whether ghosts exist or not, a guy hanging himself in a basement is REALLY freaking creepy. I do not consider myself sue happy but I would definitely be looking for some sort of recourse if a realtor did not disclose a fact like that! Every time when the lights are off ya'll would be creeped out for any little noise, and you know you would! I would. And I would also be extremely pissed.

  15. nmboone Says:

    Sorry a garage but ya'll get the point. For the future I want a death-free home, and I don't care if that's picky. Nothing even to do with religion or ghosts, I just don't like it.

  16. ambitioussaver Says:

    For me, I would have to be in the house to see how I felt. My kids and I can pick up on stuff & if we feel uncomfortable then I wouldn't buy it. Know what I mean? You can walk into a room and just feel uneasy, whether you are told about it or not. Its like someone telling me my house is on a civil war cemetery, I haven't experienced anything so whether it happened or not, I wouldn't be bothered. But if I felt uneasy on the property, thats another story. I don't really think its an ethical thing or not, some people's spirits would choose not to hang out so then there shouldn't be a problem (again, why I said I'd have to personally spend time there to see how I felt as a buyer)

  17. ambitioussaver Says:

    That said I'm also the type of person who wouldn't mind a ghost as long as it was friendly. We watched an episode on TV about a ghost that would do chores around the house... now THATs the kind of ghost I want =)

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