disclosures of death on property?

Asked by buyer, La Puente, CA Thu Jul 14, 2011

i am currently in escrow and as i am doing my final inspection of the property before it closes a neighbor comes up to me and tells me that somebody got stabbed in the house but later on died it also made headlines our address is the report, the only disclosure that the seller did was death of an older lady of natural causes but not of the stabbing..... what can i do because they didnt disclose the murder on the property

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Angela White, Agent, Saratoga, CA
Wed Apr 9, 2014
Technically, there are circumstances where the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure is not required. Foreclosures being one, Trustee sales where the Trustee does not have a financial interest, Sales of non-owner occupied properties. In this case, no disclosure is considered following the law. It is my advice for sellers to disclosure death on a property even if they are not required to with a TDS. There is an additional form called a Statutory Supplemental, that you can have a Trustee fill out. A foreclosed property is not going to disclosure anything regardless of what they know.

Buyers should ask the question, if there is a death on the property. If directly asked, within 3 years of death, the seller has to disclosure, although the manner of death is not required. Once again, since the law is written for restitution if there is ' pertinent information affecting the value of the home' then there is recourse after you purchase. But you have to prove it. And that costs money.

In your situation, put in writing what was disclosed, and ask for validation. If you are uncomfortable with the response I am pretty sure they would let you back out. Depending upon the age of the home, chances are extremely high that someone has passed away in the home. People live, and people die, and a good percentage die in their home. Since this question is from a long time ago, the answer will only be helpful to those researching a similar situation. Oh, and neighbors are great at exaggerating all kinds of stories. Sometimes to put off certain buyers - so do you own research on a property rather than relying on neighbors.
1 vote
Shane Milne, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, South Jordan, UT
Fri Jul 15, 2011
You said, "somebody got stabbed in the house but later on died" - so did they die on the property or did they die elsewhere?

Here is how I interpret California Civil Code Section 1710.2. Keep in mind I am not a real estate attorney and I am not an active real estate agent.

If they died on the property (in the home, on the home, in the yard, toe is on the very corner inch of the yard and rest of the body is on the sidewalk, etc.), and did not die of AIDS (like if they had AIDS, but the knife wounds killed them instead, or they didn't have AIDS at all), and this was in the last 3 years, then it needs to be disclosed.

If they died elsewhere, then they didn't die on the property and no disclosure is required. If someone got injured/hurt/fell ill, etc. on the property is not a required disclosure.

You don't have to disclose someone gets a terminal illness in the property and dies elsewhere (like in a nursing home), so you don't have to disclose if someone gets stabbed and dies elsewhere (like in a hospital, on the way to the hospital, or not on the property).

Now let's say in the past 3 years someone got stabbed in a neighbors home, and ran away from their attacker, unfortunately didn't make it and then they died on this property, then that needs to be disclosed (but not to the buyer of the property where the person was stabbed and did not die).

http://www.dre.ca.gov/pub_disclosures.html#_Toc122939774 states:

"D. No Disclosure Required for Manner/Occurrence of Death; Affliction of Occupant with Aids

No cause of action arises against an owner or the owner’s broker/agent (or any cooperating broker/agent) when selling, leasing, or renting real property for failing to disclose to the buyer, lessee, or renter the following:

• the manner or occurrence of an occupant’s death UPON THE REAL PROPERTY if the death occurred more than 3 years prior to the transferee’s offer to purchase, lease, or rent the property; or

• that an occupant of the property was afflicted with, or died from, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

This controlling statute does not change the law relating to disclosure of any other physical or mental condition or disease of an occupant or the physical condition of the property. If the buyer asks a direct question concerning deaths occurring on the real property, this statute will not protect the owner or broker(s)/agent(s) from misrepresentations.

(CAL. CIV. § 1710.2)"

So, if this person died on the property, bring this information to your real estate agent's attention, and if you do not want to purchase because of this death on the property, then I think you could back out and potentially get remedies per what I was reading in the below attorney's website.


See "Real Estate Contract Remedies, Contract Damages Recoverable By A Buyer", "Fraud Damages" and "Punitive Damages". If you have further questions that your real estate agent can't answer, I'd suggest you contact a real estate attorney, and perhaps that one.
1 vote
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Fri Jul 15, 2011
If it has been over 3 years ago, the seller didn't have to disclose it.

However, if, in your culture as it is in others, there are certain concerns about deaths on the premises...as long as you haven't cleared all your contingencies and if you feel strongly about this issue, you may be able to back out and get your deposit back --- depending on how you wrote your offer and what your timelines are.

Do and can you back out and get your deposit back? The first person you should ask for help is your own realtor.
0 votes
Daniela Mars…, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Fri Jul 15, 2011
You need to ask yourself if you still want to buy this home or if these recent information received about the stabbing is too much for you to bear. If you decide not to purchase, I would suggest that you ask you agent to negotiate your way out of the purchase and the return of the deposit to you. If you feel that you should be compensated also for your trouble, I suggest that you talk to a real estate attorney. The attorney will also be able to tell you if by law the seller should have disclosed the stabbing and subsequent death. My advise to sellers is always to disclose and if I know of something that could effect the desirability of a property, I disclose it myself.
Web Reference:  http://DanielaMarshall.com
0 votes
Merritt Noel, , Denver, CO
Thu Jul 14, 2011
Here is a great article that addresses your concern. Within the 'Material Facts' section it addresses the California law regarding death occurring on the property.

Here is the law stated within the article

In California, sellers are to notify buyers if a death has occurred on the property within the last 3 years.

Here is the link: http://homebuying.about.com/od/homedisclosures/qt/Req2Disclose.htm

Web Reference:  http://www.merrittnoel.com
0 votes
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