You have finally found the perfect home; in fact it is the house that you have dreamed of for years. You can’t wait to get settled in and decorate the various rooms with themed relics that you have lovingly collected over the years. You walk through each room, investigating, deciding and eventually placing furniture just so while adding touches here and there, making it your own one step at a time. Each day brings new discoveries in your dream home including the fact that you might just possibly have non-paying tenants lurking about and watching your daily goings on’s even though you can’t physically see them, they can see you, and they are doing everything in their power to make their presence known despite the fact that they are deceased.
Congratulations; you have just purchased a haunted house. Complete with ghosts and all of the shenanigans they can muster up, making your life a convoluted mix of mayhem and bedlam at best. After the initial shock has warn off and the reality sets in of what has fallen into your lap, you are now not only irritated by the fact that nobody bothered to mention that your new home is infested with ghosts, but the previous owners also neglected to tell you that several people died in your home from various illnesses and years earlier a family of four was murdered in your kitchen while eating their dinner.
Nobody wants to learn about these types of events occurring, especially when they are centered in the very place that you have acquired by draining your bank account and now are forced to call home for the next several years. So now what? Are you stuck with your little house of horrors or can you demand a full refund and peacefully move on? In the United States disclosure laws vary from state to state and while it is required that psychologically impacted property must be disclosed, many states are exempt from disclosing negative histories on homes concerning murders, suicides, paranormal activity and mischievous ghosts. It is no secret that some homes are harder to sell then others and a home with a stigma of being haunted could be a real deal breaker for sellers and real estate agents; so in most cases the “don’t ask, don’t tell” theory would be the dream result for the sellers, at least until the ink has dried on the bottom line.
Failing to tell a potential buyer that a home is haunted in a state where mums the word may exempt you from disclosure, but down the road you could still get slapped with a lawsuit if a particularly freaked out person ends up not being able to live in the house due to the presence of an over bearing entity. This can become even more problematic when stress related illnesses come into play causing the new owners pain and suffering, sleepless nights and a host of other ailments that come from a lack of sleep, the refusal to eat and the inability to live in peaceful quarters due to paranormal activity.
A New Jersey Haunted House Lawsuit
A young couple with two small children living in a rental home at 100 Terrace Avenue in the quiet town of Toms River, New Jersey has recently filed a haunted house lawsuit against the owner of the property citing that the rental home has at least one entity that actively moves doors, turns the lights on and off and whispers “let it burn” all hours of the day and night. Tenants Josue Chinchilla and fiancé Michele Callan claim that they are no longer capable of residing in the home filled with paranormal activity due to the strange circumstances that has included a dark apparition physically pulling the sheets off of Josue and other unexplained phenomenon that happens regularly within the home. And despite the fact that the couple has only requested their $2,250 security deposit back so they can move, Dr. Richard Lopez, owner of the reportedly haunted house feels that the couple is flat out making up ghost stories because they cannot afford to pay the monthly rental fee.
Due to the nature of the lawsuit the couple brought in a team of paranormal investigators to confirm or deny paranormal activity within the home. Paranormal Investigators from the Old Bridge Society confirmed that the rental home is in fact active with an intelligent haunting which is only one step up from a residual haunting. Now the burden of proof must be decided before a judge as to whether the couple brought the ghost with them from their previous residence or if the Terrace Avenue home had been haunted all along. Most importantly it must be decided if the owner knew the house was haunted, but felt inclined to ignore that little detail and simply avoid sharing that type of inside information in favor of receiving much needed rental income.
Unfortunately the rental property disclosure list for New Jersey is fairly sketchy when it comes to paranormal activity, ghosts, hauntings and the like. However they do seem to cover lead-based paint quite extensively due to it being a federal law that states tenants are to be advised of the imposing dangers from living in a home that may contain dangerous poisons in the paint. Hazards within the home also fall under the disclosure section of Title X. In this area the landlord must inform potential tenants of any known dangers lying within the property before signing or renewing a lease or rental agreement, and depending on how you view the supernatural, this could include a potentially dangerous situation, especially when it includes dark entities and intelligent hauntings. http://www.landlordtenantlawfirms.com/resources/leases-and-rental-agreements/new-jersey-terms
A New York Haunted House Lawsuit: Stambovsky V. Ackley
Oblivious to the local folklore surrounding the haunted Victorian mansion that somewhat resembles the home of the Munsters on Mockingbird Lane, and located at One LaVeta Place in Nyack, New York, Mr. & Mrs. Stambovsky laid down a hefty $32,500 deposit. The purchase contract once completed would require a total payment of $650,000, and despite the fact that the mansion was nothing less than spooky at first sight, the clueless couple was never informed about the home’s eerie reputation of possessing active poltergeists even though the seller had promoted the home as being haunted and the creepy mansion had once been featured as part of a haunted walking tour in Reader’s Digest. However for whatever reason the sellers of the property had ceased all promotions concerning ghosts and hauntings that involved the mansion prior to selling it.
Mr. Stambovsky could have cared less when it came to apparitions, paranormal activity and the mansion’s reputation for having all of those things on board. His wife did not share her husband’s feelings and was concerned about the matter of haunted houses and currently living in one. Her persistence over ill feelings towards the haunted mansion enforced her husband to attempt to back out of the purchase, but to no avail. The owner plain and simply refused to let the couple off of the hook, ghosts or no ghosts. The Stambovsky’s took their haunted house case to a New York court and lost, but eventually won 3-2 in appellate court after proving that the original owner had not disclosed pertinent facts relating to the home being actively haunted by poltergeists and other dark entities. The court found that information had deliberately been hidden from the Stambovsky’s and by New York law should have been disclosed at the time of sale. http://www.realtor.org/legal-case-summaries/stambovsky-v-ackley-new-york-court-reviews-parties-duties-to-disclose-information-regarding-haunted
Luckily most real estate companies feel that secrecy can manifest into fear, so reputable real estate agencies typically ask that the sellers disclose any paranormal circumstances up front to potential buyers no matter the outcome. However in a declining economy trust can be a sketchy thing when it comes to making a buck on a piece of property that has been sitting for an abnormal period of time. For this reason ghostly tales have been left out of potential sales in many states like Massachusetts who currently has no disclosure law leaving real estate agents and sellers are under no legal obligation to say anything negative concerning whether the property was once the site of a mass murder or suicide or if it has been the under speculation for reported ghostly phenomenon with the previous owners once having sold tickets under the premise that the home was an actively haunted house.
State By State Haunted Real Estate Disclosure
We must first decide what makes a house fall under the guidelines of being a bonafide haunted house. Wikipedia defines a haunted house as a home or other real estate often perceived as being inhabited by disembodied spirits of the deceased who may have been former residents or were familiar with the property. According to the National Association of Realtors there are currently 32 states that require some type of “formal” seller disclosure concerning many things but probably exclude haunted property and those states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
New York Says You Must Tell, While Many Other States Say No
Virginia, Washington, Hawaii, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Massachusetts and California laws state that a seller does not have to inform a buyer that a house is haunted while New York law states that you must disclose tragic events such as homicides, suicides, tragic events and hauntings, but New Jersey disclosure laws are plainly and simply unclear at best. By law, Virginia sellers only have to disclose emotional defects like suicides, murders and ghost sightings only if they physically affect the property.
As long as laws change each year so too will the laws in each state be affected by the changing times and how they are handled concerning disclosures of the sales and rentals of haunted houses. The popularity of paranormal events and the shows that portray them has caused a flurry of ghost related topics and paranormal investigations. On the flip side it has created many spooked souls that now fear the unexplained. For those that wish to know whether or not their home has been or is currently infested with dark entities or just a friendly ghost; the state by state guide should put anyone with a fear of being deviated from the normal course of things to rest. http://hauntedrealestateblog.com/haunted-re-for-sale/
Haunted Homes and Estates for Sale
Bonnie Vent of San Diego Paranormal Research along with several licensed real estate agents has teamed up to match prospective buyers and sellers to buy and list their haunted homes and estates online. Those who favor the dark and creepy side or are fans of paranormal activity can locate their haunted dream property that typically comes complete with all of the amenities, ectoplasmic activity, disembodied voices, negative energy, bad karma, ghosts, apparitions, poltergeists, entities, dark shadows, orbs and any other supernatural activity you can think of. To list your home or to see the properties listed for sale go to: http://www.sdparanormal.com/Haunted_House_Listings.html
If you love haunted houses and would rather live in one year round rather then visit them during the once a year Halloween holiday then check out the hottest haunted properties for sale in the U.S. from a Kentucky horse farm to Ozzie & Harriet’s Hollywood, California estate, and at the top of the list is Lizzie Borden’s Queen Anne Victorian home fondly known as Maplecroft. The property is located at 306 French Street in Fall River , Massachusetts , and the owner is seeking $650,000 for the 14-room home where Lizzie Borden lived after she was acquitted for the axe-murders of her father and stepmother. For more information go to: http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/real-estate-website-lists-top-ten-haunted-homes-for-sale or http://www.necn.com/04/23/12/Lizzie-Bordens-house-up-for-sale-in-Fall/landing.html?blockID=694934&feedID=4206