Do you have to tell a prospective buyer about a death in your home?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2021 | Property Law

Every home has a few problems, whether it’s age, design, or disrepair — but there’s a buyer out there for every property. An old maxim used by realtors says, “Every house sells, eventually.”

You’re worried, however, about disclosing the fact that someone died recently in your home. Knowing that some potential buyers may be spooked by the thought, you’d prefer to keep the information to yourself. Is that an option?

How the person died makes all the difference

Every state is different, but the Texas Property Code is rather specific about this issue. Generally, sellers don’t have to disclose a death on the property as long as it resulted from natural causes, an accident unrelated to the property’s condition or suicide.

For example, if your uncle had a massive coronary and died in the bath, you wouldn’t have to disclose that fact to the prospective property owners.

On the other hand, you are required to disclose any deaths related to violent crimes or the property’s condition. For example, if the prior owner was killed in a home invasion, you would need to inform all prospective buyers about the incident. Similarly, if someone was killed because they fell into an abandoned well on the back of the property, that’s also something you’d have to disclose.

Failing to do so could run you afoul of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) — which isn’t an issue you want to have.

Get support for your real estate issues

It’s important to note that some local laws may be at odds with state laws, so you need experienced guidance when you have concerns about your disclosure options. If you are accused of violating the DTPA, get legal assistance right away.