Does a seller have to disclose murder?
10/31/2014 | Author: Editorial Staff
My seller told me that a murder occurred at her property before she owned it. Does she have to disclose this information to buyers?
Yes, she should disclose this to buyers. According to the Texas Property Code, sellers aren’t required to disclose deaths on the property that resulted from natural causes, suicide, or an accident unrelated to the property’s condition. However, murder does not fall into these categories.
Your seller can use the TAR Seller’s Disclosure Notice, which includes a question about deaths other than those caused by natural causes, suicide, or an accident unrelated to the property’s condition. The notice also provides space for the seller to explain her answer, but she isn’t required to. She might want to indicate that more information is available upon request.
A seller may want to disclose information about any deaths on the property for a few reasons. A murder occurring on the property might be considered a material fact concerning the property that a buyer would want to know when deciding whether to purchase the property. Also, disclosure by the seller could prevent a scenario where buyers learn about a death on the property from another source and then seek to terminate the contract or seek damages from the seller after the transaction has closed.
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