Tragedy Struck! Do We Tell Applicants About the Previous Renter’s Death?

Share on email
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
spooky graveyard

Tragedy Struck! Do We Tell Applicants About the Previous Renter’s Death?

SHARE:

Share on email
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin

With Halloween around the corner, the world invites spooks, scares, and all the ghost stories a person could want. It’s the time for Horror Fests and Haunted Houses, maybe even some roasted marshmallows if that’s what floats your boat. Maybe that’s not your scene, because you have a real ‘haunted’ house.

Whether your property is ‘actually’ haunted or some neighborhood kids trying to create fun out of nothing is an unimportant factor. Should a potential tenant bring the question up and a landlord or real estate agent replies with ‘that’s just a rumor,’ the applicant won’t appreciate such an answer. After all, that’s what anyone trying to hide a haunting would say! And if they ask, ‘I heard someone died on the property,’ there are only so many ways you can answer. Can you lie to protect your interests? Or is honesty the only legal option?

With Halloween around the corner, the world invites spooks, scares, and all the ghost stories a person could want. It’s the time for Horror Fests and Haunted Houses, maybe even some roasted marshmallows if that’s what floats your boat. Maybe that’s not your scene, because you have a real ‘haunted’ house.

Whether your property is ‘actually’ haunted or some neighborhood kids trying to create fun out of nothing is an unimportant factor. Should a potential tenant bring the question up and a landlord or real estate agent replies with ‘that’s just a rumor,’ the applicant won’t appreciate such an answer. After all, that’s what anyone trying to hide a haunting would say! And if they ask, ‘I heard someone died on the property,’ there are only so many ways you can answer. Can you lie to protect your interests? Or is honesty the only legal option?

Are landlords required to tell every applicant that someone died on the premises?

Are landlords required to tell every applicant that someone died on the premises?

Psychologically Impacted Properties

When someone dies, the property isn’t usually gravely affected (pun not intended). Their death is not like a large earthquake shaking the timbers in the halls. Most deaths do not cause massive damage. Death of a tenant doesn’t impact the property, but it does impact the property. Psychologically speaking.

Bit of a misnomer, yes. Your house doesn’t have a psychology in the first place! It’s not like the house with the Bad Case of Stripes that needed a visit from a friendly old psychiatrist. When a death occurs on a property, it becomes psychologically impacted because it can affect the mental well-being of the current occupant.  By alerting a potential applicant to the death on the premises, it can deter them from deciding they want to live there.

Deep Cleaning

Psychologically Impacted Properties

When someone dies, the property isn’t usually gravely affected (pun not intended). Their death is not like a large earthquake shaking the timbers in the halls. Most deaths do not cause massive damage. Death of a tenant doesn’t impact the property, but it does impact the property. Psychologically speaking.

Bit of a misnomer, yes. Your house doesn’t have a psychology in the first place! It’s not like the house with the Bad Case of Stripes that needed a visit from a friendly old psychiatrist. When a death occurs on a property, it becomes psychologically impacted because it can affect the mental well-being of the current occupant.  By alerting a potential applicant to the death on the premises, it can deter them from deciding they want to live there.

After a death on the property, you will want to make sure the place is cleaned and cleaned thoroughly. Dead bodies release gas and other… particles that can spread and contaminate. There are horror stories of landlords who only found out about a tenant’s unfortunate passing because of the smell of discomposure.

black funeralesque cleaning supplies
black funeralesque cleaning supplies

Deep Cleaning

After a death on the property, you will want to make sure the place is cleaned and cleaned thoroughly. Dead bodies release gas and other… particles that can spread and contaminate. There are horror stories of landlords who only found out about a tenant’s unfortunate passing because of the smell of discomposure.

Death Disclosure

This seems like a no-brainer. You don’t want a vacancy and you’re not selling the place. Real estate agents who are selling obviously have to disclose if someone recently passed on the property, but a tenant? They can move out much easier than someone who owns a place. Legally speaking, do you really have to?

Possibly.

This is not a federally mandated statute which allows every state to decide what is right or wrong within their boundaries. For example, California Code, Civil Code – CIV § 1710.2 writes that landlords do not have to voluntarily alert potential tenants to the passing on the property:

“… an owner of real property or his or her agent, or any agent of a transferee of real property, is not required to disclose either of the following to the transferee, as these are not material facts that require disclosure: the occurrence of an occupant's death upon the real property or the manner of death where the death has occurred more than three years prior to the date the transferee offers to purchase, lease, or rent the real property.”

CIV § 1710.2

In layman’s terms, if an applicant asks, the landlord or agent must answer, but they do not have to bring it up themselves. However, if their death is related to HIV or AIDS status, the answer can become more dicey. Remember, ask a lawyer in your area for more specifications.

This California law is similar to the Georgian law,  O.C.G.A. 44-1-1, where again, landlords don’t have to bring it up themselves, but must answer honestly when asked.

On the other side of the spectrum, plenty of states have laws that say landlords don’t have to tell prospective tenants. For example, New Mexico states, “a seller, lessor or landlord of real property, including a participant in an exchange of real property and any agent involved in such a transaction, shall not be liable for failure to disclose” anything including natural death, unnatural death, or any felony.

Death Disclosure

This seems like a no-brainer. You don’t want a vacancy and you’re not selling the place. Real estate agents who are selling obviously have to disclose if someone recently passed on the property, but a tenant? They can move out much easier than someone who owns a place. Legally speaking, do you really have to?

Possibly.

This is not a federally mandated statute which allows every state to decide what is right or wrong within their boundaries. For example, California Code, Civil Code – CIV § 1710.2 writes that landlords do not have to voluntarily alert potential tenants to the passing on the property:

“… an owner of real property or his or her agent, or any agent of a transferee of real property, is not required to disclose either of the following to the transferee, as these are not material facts that require disclosure: the occurrence of an occupant's death upon the real property or the manner of death where the death has occurred more than three years prior to the date the transferee offers to purchase, lease, or rent the real property.”

CIV § 1710.2

In layman’s terms, if an applicant asks, the landlord or agent must answer, but they do not have to bring it up themselves. However, if their death is related to HIV or AIDS status, the answer can become more dicey. Remember, ask a lawyer in your area for more specifications.

This California law is similar to the Georgian law,  O.C.G.A. 44-1-1, where again, landlords don’t have to bring it up themselves, but must answer honestly when asked.

On the other side of the spectrum, plenty of states have laws that say landlords don’t have to tell prospective tenants. For example, New Mexico states, “a seller, lessor or landlord of real property, including a participant in an exchange of real property and any agent involved in such a transaction, shall not be liable for failure to disclose” anything including natural death, unnatural death, or any felony.

spooky grave and a full moon

Massachusetts is particularly helpful, as it states a landlord does not have to disclose “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” including both death, HIV status, and “that the real property has been the site of an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.”

spooky grave and a full moon

Massachusetts is particularly helpful, as it states a landlord does not have to disclose “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” including both death, HIV status, and “that the real property has been the site of an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.”

Unfortunately, what this all boils down to is that there is no yes or no answer to “Must I disclose this death?” In the end, your best bet is to ask a lawyer in your specified area about the specific type of death (such as HIV status) and location. 

How have you dealt with Let us know in the comments below!

Unfortunately, what this all boils down to is that there is no yes or no answer to “Must I disclose this death?” In the end, your best bet is to ask a lawyer in your specified area about the specific type of death (such as HIV status) and location. 

How have you dealt with Let us know in the comments below!

Subscribe!

31 questions to ask rental applicants

Categories

Subscribe for more news and tips!

Share with your friends!

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on email
Share via Email

More Articles from ApplyConnect

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this Article!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Articles from ApplyConnect

Blog Topics

Click the dropdown

Get Started with ApplyConnect!

The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

Get Started with ApplyConnect!

The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.