Buyers Beware: Sellers Stay Quiet on Murder Homes

A Pennsylvania court has ruled that home sellers don't have to disclose if their property was the site of a murder or suicide.

By Cecilia Duffy
|  Friday, Jan 4, 2013  |  Updated 3:19 PM EDT
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Buyers Beware: Sellers Stay Quiet on Murder Homes

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Buyers Beware! If you're in the market for a new home this year, then you may want to look into the history of the house. 

That's because a Pennsylvania court has ruled that home sellers don't have to disclose if their property was the site of a murder or suicide.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports a panel of Superior Court judges reaffirmed in a decision last week that such a reputation does not count as a ``material defect'' and does not have to be disclosed to a buyer. "The fact that a murder once occurred in a house falls into that category of homebuyer concerns best left to caveat emptor" - let the buyer beware, the court wrote.
 
Case in point: Milliken v. Jacono et al.

Janet Milliken bought a 14-year-old Delaware County home in 2007.  She learned in September it had been the site of a murder-suicide the prior year.

Milliken sued, saying she wouldn't have bought the house if she had known a murder had happened there.

In a dissenting opinion, Superior Court Judge John Bender acknowledged Milliken had suffered a six-figure loss, saying it could've been avoided had she been informed about the crime.

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