Haunted homeselling: These states address paranormal activity in their real estate laws

by Duffie Osental31 Oct 2019

Halloween may be just around the corner, but not everyone is in the market for a haunted house.

The good news is that home sellers in most states don’t have to disclose any reports of paranormal activity in their homes to potential buyers. In fact, research from Zillow showed that only four states – New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Minnesota – specifically address paranormal activity in their real estate disclosure laws.

In New York state, courts will rescind a home sale if the seller creates and perpetuates a reputation that the house is haunted, and then takes unfair advantage of a buyer's ignorance of the home's reputation.

In New Jersey, a seller must truthfully tell a buyer their property is haunted if asked.

And while many states have statutes regarding property facts that could cause “stigma” or “psychological impact,” only Massachusetts and Minnesota deliberately mention paranormal or supernatural activity as a "psychologically affected" attribute that does not need to be disclosed.  

Meanwhile, nine states have laws regarding the disclosure of a death on the property. In California, sellers must disclose a death on the property within three years. In Alaska, a death within one year must be disclosed. In South Dakota, sellers must disclose a homicide on the property. 

And in Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Carolina, sellers must disclose a death on the property only if asked.

This means that the 19th century murder in the parlor can be a home seller’s own little secret.