Stigmatized properties are homes that some buyers find undesirable due to emotional or psychological reasons. Typically, homes are stigmatized when emotionally upsetting events such as murder, suicide, and sexual assaults occur on or near the property.
A home that is alleged to be haunted or contain paranormal activity is likewise considered to be stigmatized. Stigmatized homes are said to be “psychologically impacted” and some people refuse to buy them under any circumstances.
In Georgia, no disclosure of a stigma is required unless the buyer (or buyers' agent) specifically asks for the information. For example, the seller does not need to tell a buyer if a diseased person ever lived in the home, or if a homicide, felony, suicide, or any other death occurred there (Georgia Official Code Annotated §44-1-16(a)(1)). Additionally, a seller in Georgia is not required to let a buyer know if a registered sex offender lives in the area (Georgia Official Code Annotated §44-1-16 (b)).
However, Sellers must answer any direct question a buyer asks about these things honestly (Georgia Official Code Annotated §44-1-16(a)(1)). Curious buyers should ask the seller directly about these things, as they are compelled to answer honestly.
In Georgia, Sellers are not required to complete a Seller’s Property Disclosure. If they do provide a Seller’s Property Disclosure, there are things about the property the seller does not need to disclose and, in some cases, is not allowed to disclose to a buyer.
Sellers do not need to disclose any condition of the property that a buyer would discover upon a reasonable inspection. This would include obvious things like holes in the roof, fire damage or similar, clearly noticed things. Sellers are not allowed to disclose anything that would violate the Fair Housing Act, such as the racial demographics of the neighborhood.
Fair Housing Act
Stay on the right side of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination based on race, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin. Watch out for the following Fair Housing questions that can trip you up:
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