Stigmatized Homes

I am sure you know what a stigmatized home is when you watched Amityville Horror. However, haunted houses are kind of rare in South Florida but seem be a little more common the closer you get to Maine and Stephen Kings lair.

Still joke aside, stigmatized properties are something that realtors and prospective buyers may encounter even here in Southwest Florida. Not in the form of a haunted house but in the form of a house that was the scene of e.g. a drug related arrest or a suicide. The home may not have any physical damage but would be considered stigmatized due to the psychological impact of what happened inside. Surprisingly enough even the home or premises where a famous person once lived may be called stigmatized.

Laws in regards to the sale of a so-called stigmatized property are clear. Chapter 689.25(1) Florida Statute states that it must not be disclosed in the real estate transaction that the home in question was the scene of a homicide or death since this is not a material fact. Failure to disclose this information will therefore not result in civil action since there is no basis for a lawsuit.

However, to avoid trouble and possible litigation despite those laws a real estate professional would be well advised to suggest to sellers to disclose such facts. I would also be wise to advise buyers to do their homework and consult sources of information like local libraries or the internet to find out more about the history of a certain property.

Laws differ from state to state; in California a real estate professional must disclose if the home was the site of a homicide or suicide within 3 years or the property being put on the market for sale or rent.

This post is also available in: German

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