How To Find Out if Someone Has Died in Your House in New York
If you’ve ever been house hunting (or just walked into an open house because you were feeling nosey), then you’ve probably found yourself wondering as you wandered if anything scandalous happened within the four walls, right?
Did you know that in the state of New York, if a prospective buyer asks whether or not death has occurred in a house that they’re contemplating buying, a realtor is morally required to disclose the truth?
With that said, the realtor doesn't have to say anything if a prospective buyer in New York doesn’t point-blank ask about whether or not freaky things have happened in the house. Crazy, right?
We’re not talking about peaceful deaths where grandma or grandma goes to sleep and doesn’t wake up. That sort of death isn’t something that legally has to be, in most cases, disclosed. However, if you are selling a house where death has occurred keep in mind that knowing and not disclosing does leave you open to lawsuits from buyers who may feel they have been deceived.
According to New York’s Disclosure obligations Real Property (RPP) Chapter 50, Article 12-A, New York has no requirement for disclosure of death on a property. The law specifically excludes any “death, crime, or stigmatizing feature.”
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According to Realtor.com, it doesn’t matter what state an agent is selling a house in – if they know that a death has occurred on the property, they have to be upfront or risk the chance that the buyers will back out. We all know that trust plays a significant role in whether or not someone purchases a home. If a buyer finds out about the death on their own, they might think the realtor is holding out on other information and back out of the deal altogether.
If you’re looking at a property and something feels off, or you’re just curious, you can Google the address you’re interested in to see if any news stories pop up about activities in the home. You can also visit the website Died In House which is a site that will search through millions of records to reveal whether or not someone died in the home or on the property.