Do you have to disclose what happened in your house?

January 16, 2013

Law Day

In 1996, in a home in Bowmanville, Ron England stabbed his mother and stepdaughter to death while suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. In the fall of 2011, Eric and Sade-Lea Tekoniemi purchased the property. Once they discovered the events that had occurred years earlier, Sade-Lea developed heart palpitations and anxiety attacks, and the couple has now sued the realtor and the prior owners for non-disclosure of the murders. This leads to the question of how much you have to disclose when you sell a house.

In Ontario, we are in a “buyer beware” system. While the buyer can’t deliberately hide something that materially affects the house, such as prior water damage or a broken furnace, a house being the scene of a crime is much more of a grey area. This case may demonstrate whether the law will be expanded to require more disclosure by sellers.

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About Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she's not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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