Suicide Stigma and Non-disclosure

(Ontario)

Question:

Seller’s father was the sole owner and committed suicide inside the home. The daughter hired a Realtor from a different part of the city and did not disclose to anyone, her agent, her lawyer etc. The closing is next week and the new owners will obviously find out sooner rather than later.

Answer:

It’s really quite difficult because not everyone has the same view of death and not all deaths are peaceful, some are rather violent. And, if there were intense violence wouldn’t that be sufficient itself, do you also need to have the person actually die on the property?

Most of the time the victim will die in the ambulance enroute or at the hospital. For those who care, the better claim is as against their own agent. It’s a challenge to sue the Seller and the Listing Agent. However, if the suicide is between the date of the agreement and the closing date, then, there’s a good chance of success against the Seller.

Generally, there seems to be a stigma associated with a violent death, murder or suicide in a house. This stigma can depreciate the property by 15%. Even if people really don’t care, they still want the “death discount”.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

www.OntarioRealEstateSource.com

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