Is Your House Haunted?

18 Apr

Metro®Boston, Publication Date: April 18, 2012
By Attorney George Warshaw

The Amityville horrors right in your neighborhood.

A murder, a suicide or unimaginable event occurred years ago. You hear cries and whispers at night. It’s eerie.

It’s your home?

You didn’t know it when you bought, but now you want to sell or rent your house or apartment. Can you sell or rent it without disclosing it was the scene of a violent crime or haunted? Will you be sued if you don’t?

Under Consumer Protection Laws, real estate agents usually have to disclose all facts that would be material to a person making an offer.

When it comes to “psychologically impacted” property, the answer is “not unless you’re asked.”

Several years ago, the Massachusetts Legislature adopted its own form of a “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy where the real property was the site of a felony, suicide or homicide, or an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.

Section 114 of chapter 93 of the General Laws protects a seller, landlord or a real estate agent from failing to disclose to a buyer or tenant that the real property is or was “psychologically impacted” – unless the seller, landlord or agent was asked about the possible occurrence of an event at the house or apartment and then failed to disclose it.

And if your house is haunted, well, there’s always Ghostbusters!
© George Warshaw 2012

George Warshaw is a real estate and estate planning attorney in Massachusetts.  He represents buyers and sellers of homes and condos in Massachusetts, and prepares wills, trusts for individuals and families. George welcomes new clients and questions at


Legal Advice: Laws, and court decisions interpreting them, change frequently and this article is not updated as laws change. The content and information contained in this article is neither intended as legal advice nor shall establish an attorney-client relationship.


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