Property disclosure is one of the most talked about subjects when buying a home. However, in the spirit of Halloween you should be aware of an often misunderstood and overlooked property disclosure subject, death on the premises. Most people don’t know that some cultures will refrain from purchasing a home where a death is disclosed. This makes it a property disclosure that needs to be talked about more often.
So, what does California Civil law say needs to be disclosed to a buyer?
California Civil Code Section 1710.2 states, No cause of action arises against an owner of real property or his or her agent, or any agent of a transferee of real property, for failure to disclose to the transferee the occurrence of an occupant’s death upon the real property or the manner of death where the death has occurred more than 3 years prior to the date the transferee offers to purchase, lease, or rent the real property, or that an occupant of that property was afflicted with or died from AIDS.
In other words, the law states that all deaths on the premises within 3 years should be disclosed except if the death occurred due to AIDS. You can still disclose that there was a death but you can’t disclose if it occurred due to AIDS. So, this means that if the death occurred more than 3 years ago and there was a failure to disclose a buyer cannot successfully sue.
So what’s a Realtor® to do….
1) To be safe always have your seller disclose all known deaths within 3 years of an offer to buy, lease or rent property.
2) Regarding a notorious death (murder or suicide) you should always advise your seller to disclose even if it was 4 years ago.
3) In every case, though, an agent must answer all questions truthfully.
So what’s a homebuyer to do…
1) It never hurts to ask. You should ask the seller and their Realtor® if there was a death on the property within the last 3 years.
2) And as always, if you have any questions throughout the home buying process you should ask your Realtor®.
It may be awkward at a first to bring this property disclosure subject up but when buying your home it never hurts to be “over informed”.
Now that we lifted your Haloween spirits 😉 go have a fun and safe Halloween.
Trick or Treat from The Sartori Team