Man Bites Dog — Real Estate Edition

[Note to Readers: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.]

One of the odder Halloween anecdotes I’ve heard about was the hapless home seller who got sued not because their house was haunted — but because it wasn’t.

Apparently, the Seller had disclosed in their Minnesota Seller’s Disclosure that the home had experienced “paranormal activity.”

The Buyer bought relying on that.

When the promised ghosts (ghouls? goblins? witches?) didn’t, umm . . . materialize, post-closing, they sued.

I’ve got to believe the Buyer and Seller either settled — and for a (very) small amount — or the suit was tossed by the judge (see analysis, below).

Too bad.

Just imagine the TV audience — let alone the competition for gallery seats — for THAT one (“as its next witness, the plaintiff calls to the stand . . . “).

“In Re Haunted House” — the Lawsuit

I suppose the Buyer’s argument would be that they bought the house intending to use it as a (commercial) haunted house.

Presumably, their damages would then be lost revenue.

The problem with that argument is zoning: the home would have had to be zoned for commercial activity.

Most single-family homes in Minnesota are zoned R-1 (“R” for residential).

Hurdle #2 for the Buyer, to beg the obvious: exactly how does one prove — or disprove — that a home is “haunted,” anyways?

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

Leave a Reply