Is the person we bought our house from obligated to inform us of a suicide by a previous owner?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is the person we bought our house from obligated to inform us of a suicide by a previous owner?

I just bought a house and heard rom the neighbors that the previous owner had committed suicide in the house. I never knew about it. Should I have been told this before buying?

Asked on March 20, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In CA, a seller must disclose all material facts regarding the property that might adversely affect its value or sale. And, if someone dies on the property that's a material fact. That is so long as the death occurred within 3 years of the date the buyer made an offer to purchase the home. However, if a buyer specifcially asks a seller about a death, then the seller must inform the buyer of any deaths of which they are, no matter how long ago the death occurred. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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