Disclosing a death at your Yorba Linda property that has occurred within the last three years is not just thoughtful – it is the law. A death on the property may give certain buyers pause for a wide range of reasons. In the state of California, on-property deaths fall into the category of "material disclosures" as they could adversely affect housing prices or an individual's desire to buy the house. Here is a closer look at what you need to know about this important issue if you are currently selling your home and are aware of a death that occurred on the property.
What is a disclosure?
During the sales process, sellers are required to make a number of disclosures to buyers. Disclosures generally cover known issues with the property in question. For example, a cracked foundation or the need for a new roof would impact either the value of the property or a buyer's willingness to purchase it (at all or for a specific price). The disclosure process protects buyers from unknown problems and also helps protect sellers against future lawsuits if buyers are beset by issues with the property.
Understand the law
Under California Civil Code Section 1710.2, owners are required to disclose to a person buying or leasing their home if there has been a death on the property within the last three years. One important exception to that is a death caused by acquired immune deficiency disorder. Federal law classifies AIDS as a disability, so sharing information about related deaths could be considered discriminatory. What's more, the law states that if a buyer asks directly that it's important to disclose if any deaths have taken place on the property, regardless of the timeframe.
Why is this important?
There are a number of reasons why individual buyers may care about a death occurring in the home. In many cases, the issue will be immaterial to buyers. But in others, personal or cultural beliefs related to death in the home may make it less desirable. If the death was high-profile or notorious in any way, it could adversely affect the home's value and thus it is important that buyers be aware as it could impact their long-term investment. As the seller, the more forthcoming you are about a home, the better protected you are in the future. Buyers that don't receive the necessary disclosures – or who are lied to during the sales process – can bring lawsuits against former owners, Realtors®, brokers, lawyers, and anyone else that failed to disclose.
Are you ready to sell your home? Contact the Edie Israel team today to learn more about how we can support your efforts, including advising you on what it is necessary to disclose about any deaths in your Yorba Linda property.