You want to sell your house, but you know that a ghost is haunting it. In fact, one of the previous owners committed suicide or died in a rather violent way. Do you need to inform potential buyers of the situation?
It’s better to be honest
With the help of a real estate broker
If a broker is helping you sell your home, you must fill out a Declaration by the seller of the immovable when you sign the brokerage contract. This declaration includes things like a question about a suicide or violent death that may have taken place in the house.
If you don’t answer the question, or answer it falsely, you are misleading buyers. This exposes you to a lawsuit from potential buyers.
Without the help of a real estate broker
The Declarations by the seller of the immovable form is not required if you are selling your home yourself.
This means that you are under no obligation to mention suicide or violent death. However, you must buyers’ questions without lying. Nor you can evade questions if the buyer expresses fears or asks questions on the subject.
Quebec courts and selling haunted houses
Quebec courts have ordered sellers to compensate buyers for hiding the truth about the death of someone in the house.
The disciplinary committee of the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ or Quebec broker’s association) has even disciplined a broker/owner for lying about the death of her son in the house. During one of the visits, the seller told the buyer that her son had died in a car accident when in fact he had committed suicide in the house’s garage.
After moving in, the buyer felt uneasy in the house. Her son’s school friends told her that the house was haunted, and no babysitter wanted to go there at night for fear of the ghost.
The buyer eventually discovered the truth and filed a complaint with the OACIQ.