Hauntings Can Reduce Property Values

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Hauntings Can Reduce Property Values

Postby ryguy » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:03 pm

Just read a disturbing article today about how a house being haunted can have an effect on it's market value. Think about that - the real estate industry is accepting the reality of the phenomenon.

Heck, even the legal system acknowledges that hauntings represent a true and disturbing activity at a property that can influence it's value - and home owners need to reveal whether or not they are aware of it. But the question is - how does the court conclude that the home is really haunted and that the homeowner lied or left out that detail during the transaction?

There was a case in 1991 where a seller was ruled liable to the buyer for failing to mention that the property she was selling was haunted, which could have affected the value. "The court held that a buyer would be highly unlikely to discover the existence of such activity himself prior to purchase," says Mark Pawlowski, professor of property law at Greenwich University in London. "And therefore the onus was firmly on the seller to make disclosure."


Think about that - the seller is liable to the buyer for failing to mention that an invisible, virtually unconfirmed phenomenon exists at a location. And the buyer gets to determine whether or not that phenomenon currently exists. What if the seller claims the home isn't haunted and the buyer is imagining things - does the court have a method of verifying the reality of the haunting?

How does an unverified and poorly understood phenomenon make it legitimately into the legal system anyway?
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Re: Hauntings Can Reduce Property Values

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:32 pm

ryguy wrote:How does an unverified and poorly understood phenomenon make it legitimately into the legal system anyway?


Heh. All part of our new world of Political Correctness. Dontcha know, Ryan, that it hurts people's feelings if you tell them they are nutso and imagining things??? :lol: Just like, rather than telling a math student "your answer is wrong", teachers are supposed to say "good. But what might some alternate answers look like? And could they be even more correct than yours?" :shock:

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Re: Hauntings Can Reduce Property Values

Postby mavn » Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:36 am

Hi Ray and Ryguy - I agree that it makes little sense to require a seller to disclose whether or not he thinks his/her property is haunted because in reality it would be too difficult to prove or disprove. However, do I believe that a property could have paranormal activity. My answer to that question is yes. In particular sites that have a long cultural history are suspect to me. If you have ever been to an ancient rock art site you would know what I mean. Not all have a feeling of forboding but some do. Sometimes the stories on the rocks tell of what happened there. And if a house or many homes are built nearby with no respect to the history of the land - Strange things could happen and usually do.

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Re: Hauntings Can Reduce Property Values

Postby Access Denied » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:03 am

There's more about the 1991 case here...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stambovsky_v._Ackley

Seems to me it’s more about the fact it was reported to be haunted in the press then whether or not it was actually haunted. This could either increase, or decrease the value depending on how you look at it.

Now if somebody tried to back out of a sale because they believed a house was haunted I’d say caveat emptor and prove it. :)

The lesson here is IF a house has a history of haunting, regardless of whether it's real or not, and the seller's aware of it, it’s in their best interest to disclose it. It’s then up to the buyer whether or not they want to deal with it.
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