Is a Seller Required to Disclose a Death in the Home?


Video Summary


Is a seller required to disclose if there has been a death in the home?  This goes back to the case law that is probably 20 or 25 years ago, when the Florida Supreme Court ruled in the case of Johnson vs Davis that said the seller in the sale of residential real property that they must disclose any matters that may materially affect the value of the property and which are not readily apparent. 

That usually involves a roof repair or some physical aspect of the house that is not readily apparent such as, if you have a sinkhole and you patch the sinkhole and did not repair it or other matters that would physically affect the house that you would have to repair at a later date. 

The law has since recognized some other aspects that are more intangible and so I do not believe that simply someone passing away in the home would be something that you would have to disclose because people die at home all the time.  The question if you take it one step further, let’s say there was a homicide or even a suicide, then that creates another issue and I do not know that it is clear cut or I have not seen a case on that where a buyer has sued to say that they wanted to resend the transaction because it was not disclosed to them that there was a homicide committed in the home. 

So my reaction or my opinion, not that there is any court opinion to justify this, is that you do not have to make that disclosure and in fact I have not seen that disclosure that the realtors customarily have a seller fill out for a buyer.  In our area there is, in Tarpon Springs, a super fun toxic waste area that has been taken over and there was some question as to whether or not if you are selling property that is close to that that you would have to disclose that. 

So these are all questions that I guess would be better if you did disclose it so that you do not have to worry about the buyer ever coming back against you because it was not disclosed but I do not know that that is encompassed in the disclosure requirements or whether that really materially affects the value of the property.

So hopefully I have shed some light on the issue.  If you would like to have me assist you in the sale of your home and the disclosures, well give me a call at (727) 847-2288.