Does a death in a home need to be disclosed?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Residential Real Estate

Many people would like to know if anyone passed away peacefully or violently in the house they are looking to buy. The discovery that someone did die in a house may cause a buyer to look elsewhere to avoid being associated with the death. Do sellers need to tell buyers this information if they are aware that someone did pass away in a home? 

In New York, sellers don’t need to disclose a death in a home because it’s not a material defect. Similarly, if a homeowner or occupant had a non transmittable immunodeficiency disease, then the seller doesn’t have to tell a potential buyer. Understanding what must be disclosed before buying a house can help people avoid larger issues in the future. Here’s what you should know: 

What must be disclosed about a home?

A material defect is anything that would affect the home’s value. This can include general information about a home, such as its age, ownership, shared driveways, legal matters and borders. 

A home buyer should also be informed about the surrounding environment of a property. This may include whether a property is near a flood plain, wetlands, landfill or agricultural district. The interior of a home should also be inspected and disclosed. This includes whether a home contains asbestos, lead pipes or fuel storage tanks. Or, if there were any products or hazardous substances that were disposed of on the property or had leaked into the area. 

A home’s structural history should also be given to a buyer. This means the buyer should know whether a home has had flooding damage or suffered from a fire or insect or rodent infestations. These issues may cause damage to a home’s roof, beams, sewage, electrical and other structural and mechanical systems. 

If a seller fails to disclose these issues, then a buyer may need to understand their legal options.