What constitutes full disclosure when selling a house?
Would you want to know if the house you were buying had once had human ashes buried in the back yard? I would, but no one would have to tell me it seems.
Recently, one Toronto couple bought a midtown house with plans to demolish and rebuild it. They were in the process of obtaining permits from the City of Toronto when someone alluded to the house's history.
It turned out that the widow of a previous owner had buried her husband’s ashes in the back yard even though they'd originally been stored in a cemetery vault.
After awhile, the couple found and removed them. But they were worried, since the back yard had been used temporarily as a burial ground for human remains, whether the property was 'stigmatized' -- in other words, whether they would have to fess up to future buyers.
No, they don't, explains Toronto lawyer Bob Aaron.
In Ontario, at least, sellers have no legal obligation to disclose information about suicides, murders or any other matters which might stigmatize the house, he explains.
Aaron likens the incident to the temporary storage of an urn containing human ashes on a mantelpiece. Once removed, there's no longer any possible stigmatization of the property, he notes.
"My clients were very relieved, but I’m not sure everyone would feel the same way," he admits.
Would you care if human ashes had been buried, temporarily or permanently, in the back yard of a house you were buying?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: the truth | Jul 17, 2021 1:03:04 AM
nope, its just ashes, when you are dead you are dead, even if the body had been buried in the back yard who cares, it would just be bones, most likely make the grass grow better, people wory about stupid stuff
Posted by: well said | Jul 17, 2021 2:19:23 AM
@the truth - Thank you for such a logical and no nonsense response to this article. It's refreshing to know that there are still people out there that don't worry about such trivialities. I wished more people were as straight forward in their thinking as you are. (Just so you know, I'm being completely sincere and not sarcastic at all.)
Posted by: Realtor In GTA | Jul 17, 2021 7:05:42 AM
There is a fine line between "legally" divulging information which can "stigmatize" a property and an "ethical" obligation on realtors (and sellers) who are fully aware of a potential situation at hand. If a realtor knows that there is a "stigma" attached to a property (honestly, I would not consider human remains in an urn a stigma, that's just silly),then that realtor (and seller) have an "ethical" duty to divulge that information to any potential purchasers because it can affect the monetary value of the home for that potential purchaser down the road. I, as a realtor, personally go one step farther and include what the stigma is in the actual Agreement of Purchase of Sale therefore there is no question that the stigma has been disclosed to any purchaser (and saves any costly litigation down the road as both parties signed off on the "stigma"). Cheers
Posted by: R | Jul 17, 2021 7:13:40 AM
If a buyer has certain aversions, they should ask if those conditions exist. Stigma is in the eye of the beholder.
Posted by: Jyl | Jul 17, 2021 7:20:26 AM
I so agree with the first response, by the truth. If one feels like combing through an entire history belonging to one particular house, so as to uncover something unpleasant, such as deceased previous owners, break-ins, or bits of personal histories that offend one's sensibilities, one had better buy a brand new house, instead, only start the process all over again, for its future owners. To view this property as a burial ground is similar to viewing a house as a coffin, if someone choose to keep a loved-one's ashes.
Posted by: B | Jul 17, 2021 8:28:22 AM
Old cemetarys are moved all the time to build new homes and condos. You often find carins built close by with the old headstones Who cares they are dead.
Posted by: Donna | Jul 17, 2021 8:34:53 AM
I would want to know because I'd be thinking about it "all" the time (back of my head). I could than do something to remedy the situation. Murders, suicides and break-ins wouldn't bother me a bit unless someone left their ghost behind. (lol)
Posted by: David stevens | Jul 17, 2021 10:55:30 AM
no the only people that hurt you are the live ones
Posted by: tracy | Jul 17, 2021 1:07:01 PM
I could have a potential issue with a murder, if it were a possibillity that the murderer would come back to check on the house and its current residences.
Posted by: mary | Jul 17, 2021 1:31:57 PM
Has anyone lived in a haunted house? Well unless you've had the unfortunate experience of living in one, I wouldn't be so sure that they can't hurt you. Yes, I would like to know if there was anyone buried, murdered, etc. in the house and have gone as far as having it written into the agreement of purchase and sale.
Posted by: Janev | Jul 17, 2021 2:37:46 PM
I'd just be concerned if there was a previous meth lab in the house as it permeates the walls and it leaves the house very toxic. Anything else; meh.
Posted by: mike | Jul 21, 2021 6:34:25 AM
if a house was used for criminal activities I would want to know. if someone died i would like to know the how of it. but that is only because i have a courious nature. If a person dies in an apartment does the stigmatize the whole building, i think not. Things or events that could harm the building or the future owners or present a risk facture are important. i would want to know if there was a body buried there, and how long ago and i would want to know where on the porperty. that way i could avoid disturbing it or have it exhumed and moved to a better location.
not because i an afraid of Goast's...LOL
Posted by: j denis huggard | Jul 21, 2021 5:18:23 PM
hello-I think many new marriage couples would be very interested in previoua owners history-especially if young are around-but the major question is ""deferred maintenance""especially in comm properties-hotels etc-big issue there-and owners are prepared to withhols much updating costs-that's the beast in us-I handled 100 ,s of these case-retired no/ jdenis huggard/vancouver