Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Need to Disclose 'Psychological' Property Defects

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

No Need to Disclose 'Psychological' Property Defects

Article excerpt

A Pennsylvania court has ruled that a seller of real estate does not have to disclose that a violent crime occurred on the property.

Pennsylvania makes property sellers complete a disclosure form that details material defects with the property. Typical disclosure statements might include the presence of asbestos, the use of knob- and-tube wiring, wood-destroying pests, and other issues.

In the case in question, a couple did not disclose that a murder- suicide had occurred on a property they put up for sale in Delaware County. After the closing, the buyer learned of the murder-suicide and sued both the couple and the real estate broker for failure to disclose the violent crime.

The buyer alleged that the murder-suicide constituted a material defect that decreased the value of the property and therefore required disclosure under the law. The trial court disagreed and entered a summary judgment for the seller. On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the lower court's decision and remanded the case to the trial court. …

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