Should realtors disclose bloody pasts of homes for sale?
|Photo by JS North|
One couple in Blaine is suing Edina Realty after the company failed to disclose a murder that happened in the home. The lawsuit raises questions about the ethics of disclosing the home's history to potential buyers and how that past could change the perception of a perfectly good home.
The murder of Helen Tomassoni, 45, occured in July 2007. He husband shot her twice in the head with a pistol in the bedroom. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole just one month before the Fajris closed on the house.
The couple is arguing that Edina Realty knew about and should have told them about the murder before they purchased the home. They now say they can't fully enjoy their home because they can't stop thinking about the murder. They say the murder is a material fact related to the home.
A Edina Realty spokeswoman told the Strib they had no comment.
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In general, real estate agents and sellers should disclose to prospective buyers if a murder has taken place on the property, experts say.
"There are some exemptions, but murder isn't one of them," said Chris Galler, chief operating officer for Minnesota Association of Realtors. "If a licensee is aware of a murder and the seller is aware, they both have an obligation."
Minnesota law requires licensed agents to disclose anything that they know of that could affect an ordinary person's use or enjoyment of the property.
Among the exemptions listed are if the place was the site of: a suicide, a natural death, an accidental death or perceived paranormal activity.