Disclosing a Death on the Property

It’s a tough subject to talk about. It’s a natural part of life that we don’t usually plan on. When a property owner or trustee is faced with selling a home that has had a death on the property, there are questions when it comes to what a seller might need to disclose.

According to many state laws, a Death on a property is considered a material defect that must be disclosed to the buyer. If this is something that you’re facing though, you may not need to worry. Although there may be a small effect on the property value due to demand, polls show that most buyers are not concerned about a natural death on the property. So in most cases, deaths will not impact a buyer’s willingness to proceed with an offer.
State laws vary, but in California, the following do NOT need to be disclosed:

  • You don’t need to disclose the death if it occurred more than three years ago unless the buyer specifically asks about deaths on the property. In that case, you are required by law, to tell the truth.
  • AIDS is classified by federal law as a disability and it is considered discriminatory to disclose it. As such, you are not legally required to disclose an AIDS-related death, even if the buyer specifically asks about deaths on the property.


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