Michael Samuels provides legal services to FSBO and other real estate clients in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio.

Do you have to disclose a death in the house in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2024 | Real Estate Law

Sellers have to disclose certain negative events that may have taken place in the house. They have to tell buyers about any known defects. If there is known water damage, for example, or damage from a house fire, buyers deserve to know the condition of the property that they’re purchasing.

But what if it’s just an event that may make some potential buyers uncomfortable, but that doesn’t actually compromise the integrity of the house? Say that someone passed away while they were in the home. Some buyers may be hesitant to purchase such a property, so does that mean sellers have an obligation to tell them?

There is no such obligation in Ohio

Under the laws in Ohio, no, sellers do not have an obligation to disclose a death in the house. It doesn’t matter if it was a death from natural causes, a murder, a suicide or anything else of that nature. It’s even worth noting that a seller who believes their house is haunted does not have to disclose that detail to a potential buyer, either.

The value of the property

When considering disclosures, the key is to look at the value of the property that the buyer is investing in. If there is significant damage that means a roof needs to be replaced or there are structural concerns and safety issues, it could become a very expensive property for the buyer. They want to know about that upfront so that they can determine what they think the property is really worth.

While a buyer may be uncomfortable with the idea that someone passed away in the house that they now live in, it doesn’t actually have any impact on the value or safety within the home. As such, the seller doesn’t have to say anything about it if they would prefer not to.

Selling your home can be a complex process. Be sure you are well aware of the legal steps you need to take.