The Law of Haunted Houses: A Comment on Stigmatized Properties following Wang v Shao

(2021) 54:2 UBC Law Rev 455

28 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2021

See all articles by Reagan Seidler

Reagan Seidler

Law Society of Upper Canada - Smart & Biggar

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

Deaths, hauntings, and other scandalous business can impact the value of a home. What must sellers of such “stigmatized” properties disclose to buyers? With the Supreme Court of Canada recently declining to answer the question, this piece aims to help sellers and professionals decide what to say when haggling over Hill House. A comparative look at real estate law and practice in English Canada, Québec, England, and the United States reveals wide differences in approach, revealing deeper differences in how the jurisdictions treat latent defects. The most doctrinally consistent answer is that subjective flaws like ghosts and murders are not defects, but if they are, online coverage of the issue renders them latent. Sellers may therefore pass quiet title while themselves remaining quiet about any skeletons in the closet.

Keywords: real estate, real property, caveat emptor, stigma, stigmatized property, law, Canada, conveyance, ghost, murder, death, haunted, haunting, property, property law, United States, England, Quebec

JEL Classification: K00, K11

Suggested Citation

Seidler, Reagan, The Law of Haunted Houses: A Comment on Stigmatized Properties following Wang v Shao (2021). (2021) 54:2 UBC Law Rev 455, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3923733

Reagan Seidler (Contact Author)

Law Society of Upper Canada - Smart & Biggar ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

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