Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Disclosure of death on property

When selling a house what is the homeowner's responsibility regarding disclosing the fact a death occured in the home? What are the specifics for disclosing that fact? Do you have to volunteer the information? Does how/where the death occured make a difference (ie:accidental v. suicide; in the home v. in a detatched garage)?

Thank you,

Shannon

Asked on 2/08/05, 4:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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Re: Disclosure of death on property

There are two intersecting bodies of law on this general topic that you need to be aware of. First, California case law makes it pretty clear that a seller must disclose anything known to the seller that would materially affect the value or desirability of the property to a typical buyer. This would include many types of crimes and probably deaths and disease.

In addition, there is one important statute that limits this obligation, Civil Code section 1710.2, which you should read in full, but to give you an abbreviated version, it is not necessary to disclose the occurrence or manner of death if it was more than three years earlier, nor to disclose that an occupant had, or died from, AIDS. On the other hand, this law does not authorize making an intentional misrepresentation of any fact in response to the buyer's direct inquiry.

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2/08/05, 5:07 pm

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