Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Disclosure of Death in Apartment to Prospective Tenants

Is it required by law that a landlord tell a prospective tenant that a death occured within a unit being offered for rent?

Asked on 7/18/02, 12:20 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Disclosure of Death in Apartment to Prospective Tenants

Standard references on 'how to be a landlord' do not mention such a requirement. They do mention requirements to disclose locations which are former military bases, ongoing pest-control (termite, etc.) programs, lead paint hazards, registered sex offender (megan's law) information, shared utility arrangements, and other environmental hazards including dangerous molds.

Landlords must also disclose basic information relating to the manager, agent or owner, how rent is to be paid, etc.

I found no statute relating to disclosure of deaths in rentals. However, following a general legal principle that failure to disclose material facts in any transaction can be considered fraudulent, I would advise making voluntary disclosure of any unusual facts such as crime scene, non-natural deaths or related information that might affect the desirability of the property.

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Answered on 7/18/02, 1:20 pm

Re: Disclosure of Death in Apartment to Prospective Tenants

A landlord does not have to disclose any death of an occupant which occurred more than three years before the renting, nor any death was caused by HIV/AIDS. A landlord may not intentionally misrepresent the fact in response to a direct inquiry. Civil Code 1710.2.

Whether the landlord is liable for not disclosing a death within three years of the rental which is not caused by HIV or AIDS depends on the facts. In addition to liability, the plaintiff would have to show damages.

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Answered on 7/18/02, 3:08 pm

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