Buyer Loses Lawsuit Over ‘Haunted Building’ Joke

Haunted HouseA lawsuit in Kitchener surrounding the sale of an office building was thrown out of court when the buyer who had complained about ghosts on the property could not provide any proof.

The lesson is that if the history of a property matters to you, whether it is murders, suicides or rumours of paranormal activity, include something in your agreement, or it will be hard to prove anything later.

Here is what happened:

In 2010, the historic building on King St. East was sold by the K-W Labour Association to a numbered company controlled by Trajan Fisca for $650,000. The property had been valued at over $1 million by the municipal assessors.

In the interview with the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, Labour Association vice president Stephen Kramer said the main reason the building sold for less than the assessed value was because it was only partly leased. He then added: “and because it’s haunted.” He later joked that people wondered whether Jimmy Hoffa was buried there, since it was an old union building. More

via Office building buyer loses lawsuit over ‘body buried here’ joke | Toronto Star.

While there is no law requiring disclosure of murders, suicides, etc., there is a basic principle that says that any “latent” defect (meaning a defect that isn’t readily discovered by the buyer) which significantly affects the value of the property must be disclosed. I suppose that, even though a buyer isn’t able to prove the existence of ghosts, he might still be able to prove that the belief that the property is haunted has significantly lowered its value. Bottom line for sellers: when in doubt, disclose.