Whether you believe in paranormal activity or not, you might be hesitant to buy a home that has a “haunted’’ history.
Well, if you live in Massachusetts you may never know, because sellers and real estate agents don’t have to tell you.
According to state law, “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.’’
The state of Massachusetts defines “psychologically impacted’’ in a variety of ways. Basically, facts about the house’s history that might freak you out, but that don’t actually relate to the physical state of the house, don’t need to be disclosed. That includes a past tenant with HIV or AIDS, or if a murder or suicide happened in the house. Or, you know, if the property has been the site of an “alleged para psychological or supernatural phenomenon.’’
That seems like a weird thing to be included in a state law. Is it?
Sort of. According to “Secrets Worth Keeping: Toward a Principled Basis for Stigmatized Property Disclosure Statues,’’ published in the UCLA Law Review in 2010, it is fairly common for states to have “stigma statutes’’ in their residential real estate laws. So that “psychologically impacted’’ idea isn’t unique.
But the UCLA Law Review article notes “only a handful of states expressly protect nondisclosure of ‘hauntings’ and related stigmas.’’
Massachusetts is one of them.
Try not to fear – if you explicitly ask your broker if there have been haunts in your home, he or she is legally obliged to tell you the truth.
You can also use the website DiedInHouse.com to determine if someone has ever died in your home, because as Bloomberg Business points out, in some cases a death or fear of paranormal activity can make a home almost impossible to sell. Check out other Massachusetts laws about the paranormal here.
Related: New England Castles that used to be private homes: