We stand with you during COVID-19. Here's how.
Published on:

Can You Pursue a Legal Claim for a Haunted House?

When your house in haunted, who’re you going to call? Ghostbusters…and maybe an attorney? In the spirit of Halloween, we’d like to take a look at the legal implications of haunted houses. Many homebuyers are not aware of the fact that while the existence of ghosts is hotly debated, homeowners may be able to pursue legal action against previous homeowners in the case of hauntings.


In the famous case Stambovsky v. Ackley, in what is known as the “Ghostbusters ruling,” courts determined that owners have a duty to tell buyers if a home is considered haunted. The laws don’t just extend to ghosts, either. This year, a couple in Westfield, New Jersey filed a $1.3 million lawsuit against the previous owners of their home, alleging that the previous owners failed to disclose that a disturbed neighbor was fixated with the house. The lawsuit alleges that when the couple moved into their home, they started to receive disturbing messages from a man identified as the “Watcher.”

Could These Laws Affect You?

If you’re buying a home, things that go bump in the night may not worry you, but other home issues could cause serious problems in your new house. Under Chapter 689.25 of the Florida Code, owners or realtors do not need to disclose whether a property being sold “was, or was at any time suspected to have been, the site of a homicide, suicide, or death.” The same law also states that relators and owners don’t need to reveal whether an occupant has been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. While Florida laws specifically state these facts don’t need to be revealed, they do state home sellers need to reveal any information they know of which can affect the value or desirability of a property. This can include things such as:

  • The presence of sinkholes
  • Any legal issues or other disputes concerning the property
  • Environmental hazards (such as Chinese drywall, asbestos, mold, and other issues)
  • Infestations of pests such as termites
  • Problems with major components of the house (such as the foundation or wiring)

The Florida Association of Realtors has a form which covers the most common issues sellers may need to disclose to avoid legal action. Of course, getting a thorough home inspection is still necessary and can help uncover some of these problems.

Under Florida laws, sellers are also protected. Sellers are not expected to sell properties free of defects, so they only need to disclose issues they know about. Even if a buyer feels a property owner should have known about a problem, in a lawsuit the buyer needs to be able to prove that the seller actually knew about an issue and failed to disclose it.

Have you purchased a home only to discover that it is afflicted by major problems that the previous owner knew about? Do you have questions about possibly seeking a legal claim against the prior owners of your property or the realtor who sold you the property? If you’d like to find out what your legal rights are, contact the full-service law firm of Flaxman Law Group. Through our offices in Hollywood, Homestead, Miami, we are proud to serve the entire South Florida area.

Client Reviews
Mr. Flaxman is highly skilled and very pleasant to work with. He communicated with me at every step in the process, and clearly presented information relating to my case. To anyone considering retaining his firm, I highly recommend him. Clara Barman
THE BEST. Honest, very knowledgeable, fast and easy. has helped me in numerous situations and has never failed me. Joe Gee
Charlie is a very skilled attorney that advocates hard for his clients. But the best part is he is an all around great guy. He cares about helping and doing what is right for people and his community. And he is not afraid to fight against those who do wrong or against threats to our world. He is fluent in Spanish as well. Do yourself a favor and call him. Andy
I had a lawyer on another case and I never spoke to the lawyer and I hated that I never knew what was going on in my case. Mr. Flaxman was in constant communication with me, explained everything to me, and his staff was really great too. My phone calls were always returned immediately. It was refreshing to be able to speak to my attorney personally. I would HIGHLY recommend Mr. Flaxman as an attorney to anyone who has been in an accident. Gloria
I found Mr. Flaxman to be an excellent attorney for my personal injury case. This is actually the second time I have used him and he really represented my interests. He explained everything thoroughly and he was very available for my questions. Carol
Contact Information