Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters! Selling A Haunted House and Other Tales of the Paranormal

by Rich Vetstein on October 15, 2012

in Disclosures, Massachusetts Real Estate Law, Real Estate Marketing, Realtors

My kids (ages 9 and 6) are really into Halloween this year, convincing me into spending over $100 on laughing tombstones, zombies and other decorations at iParty over the weekend. I love Halloween, and enjoy when people go all out on decorating their homes.

But what if your house is truly haunted? Or you are a broker trying to sell a home which may have a paranormal past, like the scene of a murder of suicide? How can you protect yourself from buying a haunted house?

In Massachusetts there’s a law for that! Seriously….

Under Massachusetts law, real estate brokers and sellers are under no legal obligation to disclose that a property was the site of a felony, suicide or homicide, or has been the site of an alleged “parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon,” i.e., a haunted house.

Here is the law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93, section 114:

The fact or suspicion that real property may be or is psychologically impacted shall not be deemed to be a material fact required to be disclosed in a real estate transaction. “Psychologically impacted” shall mean an impact being the result of facts or suspicions including, but not limited to, the following:

(b) that the real property was the site of a felony, suicide or homicide; and

(c) that the real property has been the site of an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.

No cause of action shall arise or be maintained against a seller or lessor of real property or a real estate broker or salesman, by statute or at common law, for failure to disclose to a buyer or tenant that the real property is or was psychologically impacted.

Thus, real estate agents have no legal duty to inform buyers that a house has a paranormal past. (I’m sure some agents would so inform their buyers, but legally buyers are on their own to discover these types of stigmas).

Of course in this digital era, an easy way to determine whether a house is truly “haunted” is to Google the property address and the last few prior owners and see what comes up. If there was a murder or suicide–or even ghosts– it should reveal itself. Of course you can always hire Ghostbusters.


Richard D. Vetstein, Esq. is a Massachusetts real estate attorney. He is debating between dressing up as Darth Vader or the Pirate Jack Sparrow this Halloween.

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