If Selling a House in Texas, Do You Have to Reveal a Crime Happened There?
The other night, I was watching an episode of Law and Order: SVU where a man had kidnapped his own daughter and locked her in a basement room so he could abuse her every day. I looked at my girlfriend and said, "Could you imagine owning a house where something like that happened?" It's a hypothetical situation, yes, but what if something bad did happen in a home that was being sold? Would the seller have to reveal that information to a prospective buyer in Texas? Let's take a look at the answer below.
Dark Happenings in a Home
It's not out of the realm of possibility for something tragic to happen in a home anywhere in Texas. A person could die suddenly for no reason other than it was their time. Someone could break into a home and take the homeowner's life. The person living there may get a point in their life that they tragically feel ending their life is the only answer. These are dark subjects, but, if any of these events happened in a home you may want to buy, are you required by Texas law to know beforehand?
A seller or seller's agent shall have no duty to make a disclosure or release information related to whether a death by natural causes, suicide, or accident unrelated to the condition of the property occurred on the property or whether a previous occupant had, may have had, has, or may have AIDS, HIV related illnesses, or HIV infection. - Texas Property Code, Sec. 5.008. 11. (c)
In Texas, if a natural death, an accidental death or a suicide occurs in a home that is for sale, it does have to be revealed before selling the home (Texas Property Code, Sec. 5.008. 11. (c)). However, according to texasrealestate.com, if a murder occurred in the home for sale, that will have to be revealed to a potential buyer. Also, according to ramseysolutions.com, if there was an accident like a drowning in a creek behind the home, that would need to be revealed so the buyer is aware of the risk.
Other Information Not Required to be Disclosed
There are some other bits of information that Do Not have to revealed, either. You are not required to be informed if the previous owner may have had HIV or AIDS or any other deadly virus. It is also not required for a potential buyer to be informed if a registered sex offender lives nearby.
Other Crimes Committed in a Home
Something that I couldn't find in my research of Texas laws about selling a home is if it has to be revealed if another type of crime happened in a home like if someone sold drugs from the residence or if the home was used to house a kidnap or sexual abuse victim.
Ask or Do Your Own Research
If these are concerns of yours when buying a home, I'm sure you can simply ask the realtor if these things happened. You could also do your own research into a particular property. Home buying is a big deal so the more information you have about that home, the better.