Real Estate Law in Massachusetts and Psychologically Impacted Property

Many people hold beliefs that properties where certain events have occurred are haunted, bad luck, strange or scary, or otherwise have a negative aura. These properties include, but are not limited to, properties where a death has occurred within the home, properties where pets are buried in the yard, or properties where certain crimes have been committed. For some homeowners and homebuyers living in the Boston area, purchasing a home that is “psychologically impacted” is not desirable. As such, the question is: Does the seller of a home that is psychologically impacted have a duty to disclose the psychological impact?

What Is a Psychologically Impacted Property?

According to Section 114 of Part I, Title XV, Chapter 93 of Massachusetts General Laws, a “psychologically impacted” property refers to an impact that is the result of facts or suspicions including, but not limited to:

  • An occupant of the real property’s infection of HIV or acquired immune deficiency syndrome or any other disease that is highly unlikely to be transmitted through occupancy alone;
  • The real property having acted as a site for a homicide, felony, or suicide; or
  • The real property having acted as a site for “alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.”

Does a Seller Have a Duty to Disclose?

When selling a property that has been psychologically impacted, both the buyer and the seller likely are curious as to whether or not the seller has a duty to tell the buyer of said psychological impact. As a general rule, a seller does not have to disclose, without being prompted to do so or asked, any psychological impact; however, the seller cannot lie about the psychological impact if directly asked.  For example, if a buyer asks if a murder occurred on the property, and one did indeed occur, the seller has a legal obligation to answer truthfully.

Understanding the Rights and Duties of Buyers and Sellers in Boston

Whether buying or selling property in Boston, the rights and responsibilities that you have can be confusing. When selling or buying a property with a defect – physical or psychological in nature – these rights and responsibilities are even more convoluted. To ensure that you are operating within the law and that your best interests are protected, it is within your best interest to work with an experienced real estate attorney.

At Deborah Gold-Alexander Attorney at Law, we know what is on the table when buying or sell property. To meet with a talented real estate attorney with nearly 30 years’ experience in Revere and Boston, contact our law offices today. You can reach us online or by phone at (781) 289-4235. Your initial consultation is 100 percent free.