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Things That Go Bump In The Night

GraveyardI read a recent story about a Missouri woman who discovered the home she was renting had been the site of murder and torture by a serial killer. When she requested the landlord release her from the lease, the landlord, who was the mother of the killer, refused.

Opinions on social media flew all over, with most people saying that the tenant should sue because the landlord didn’t disclose the home’s grisly past. When it was pointed out that in Missouri the fact that the home has such a violent past doesn’t have to be disclosed, many people were angry.

Well, surprise, surprise! Nevada has a very similar law. Called a stigmatized property law, it states that as long as a death was not caused by a condition of the property (such as faulty wiring), the fact that the home was the scene of a murder, suicide or death by any other means does not have to be disclosed to potential buyers or tenants.

However, just because this fact doesn’t have to be disclosed doesn’t mean that prospective buyers or tenants can’t ask. If questioned about whether or not the home was the scene of a death, the seller or landlord (or their agents) must answer honestly. Many people have beliefs that would prevent them from choosing a home that had been the scene of a death. If this is an important fact in the decision-making process, buyers and tenants should ask if a death occurred at their prospective home. If the answer is “no”, be sure to get it in writing.

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