The Creepiest Massachusetts Real Estate Law There Is
Massachusetts is as old as they come, and it has more First Period homes (built during the settlement of the US, from 1626-1725) than anywhere else in the country. With age comes history, but would you want to know if that history was a tragic one?
Your dream-home-to-be might have been the site of a murder or suicide, or it’s possible that paranormal activity has been observed on site, but according to Massachusetts disclosure laws, the sellers don’t have to say a thing.
Specifically, sellers are not required to disclose the fact that the property was the site of a “…felony, suicide or homicide” or “… that the real property has been the site of an alleged para psychological or supernatural phenomenon.” Even more, it says that “there will be no penalty for a seller who fails to disclose any of these issues to a buyer before selling the property.”
The law states:
“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 Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (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 para psychological 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 property is or was psychologically impacted.”
However, thanks to one happy clause, sellers are required to reply truthfully if asked. So buyers beware, ask the seller and agent if they are aware of any deaths or abnormal activity, speak with neighbors, search the address online, and check government records, if they exist, for any information related to the property.
Otherwise, ignorance is hopefully bliss.