Would You Have Disclosed The Murder At This House Of Horrors For Sale?

Date Published 01 November 2013

Should you disclose a murder that has taken place at a property on which you are instructed?

So far, there has been no case law under the duties of disclosure that make an agent liable for prosecution under CPR.

However, there was a particularly unpleasant murder at a house, resulting in a case which went to the Court of Appeal which tested whether the sellers – who knew about it – should have disclosed it.

The murder was horrific, involving the death of a 13-year-old girl at the hands of a previous owner. Her body was first buried in the garden and then dismembered, with some body parts never recovered.

The case preceded CPR by four years and did not involve any agents – presumably because under the old Property Misdescriptions Act agents were liable for giving the correct measurements of rooms rather than making disclosures.

Instead, the case looked at the duty of vendors to answer questions truthfully on the conveyancing forms.

The case is outlined in today`s blog section. Two leading experts who we asked offered differing views as to whether, as a precedent, it is still relevant as case law today or whether it has been superseded by statute.

However, it is an interesting case both in terms of legalities and consciences.

What would you, as an agent, do about it, were you handling the sale or letting of this property today?