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Court holds that a seller has no duty to reveal that a murder/suicide took place in the house

July 7th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer

A Pennsylvania trial court held that a seller had no duty to reveal that a murder/suicide took place in the house. Milliken v. Jacono, 60 A.3d 133 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2013). The court interpreted a state statute that required sellers to reveal “material defects” and found that events that had happened in the house were not a “material defect” in the physical structure of the property. The court declined to find any common law duty to reveal the information on the ground “an expansion of required seller disclosures from the physical to the psychological is a massive expansion in the character of disclosure. It requires the seller to warn not only of the physically quantifiable but also of utterly subjective defects.” Id. at 140. A dissenting opinion would have found such an obligation because “[r]eputation and history can have a significant effect on the value of realty.” Id. at 145 (Bender, J., dissenting).

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