Haunted or Stigmatized?
Not very many people would be interested in purchasing a “haunted” house but how about one that is considered “stigmatized” and what does that mean? Stigmatized is a property that has been psychologically impacted by an event which occurred, or was suspected to have occurred, on the property. Some examples are: a homicide, suicide, death, or someone who occupied the home having HIV or AIDS.
The Federal Fair Housing Law and Florida Statutes specifically mandate that such events are not material facts in a real estate transaction and do not need to be disclosed by either the sellers or the real estate agent representing the sale, and a cause of action will not arise against either for nondisclosure.
True Tragic Event
While living in Pennsylvania, my neighbor was a prominent dentist well known in our small-town community. His wife was a part of the neighborhood women’s card club and my daughter babysat their two young sons. They were a beautiful average family who lived beside us for over eight years. No one ever suspected that he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was on medication for years. This medication began to interfere with his dental practice when his hands began to shake, so he stopped taking it. The result was disastrous as one night he stabbed his wife to death in front of his two young boys. Our entire neighborhood was shocked beyond belief and our community was totally shattered by this tragedy. No one ever expects to experience such trauma with people you thought you knew!
A Stigmatzed Home
The beautiful home located right beside me was now “stigmatized” by such a tragedy and even though it was in excellent condition in a popular neighborhood, this home sat on the market for almost a year. No one was required to “disclose” what had happened but most local buyers already knew. It took some remodeling and renovations as well as an out-of-state buyer to finally initiate and close on the sale of the home.
Some people are superstitious about deaths that occurred in a house and some believe homes are haunted with the spirits of those who died there. But if there is any concern when considering a purchase, it is wise to do in-depth research or ask direct questions to those involved in the sale. They are not required to disclose but most will be honest in answering specific questions. A beautiful home should never be overlooked due to an unexpected tragic event.