Britain has many outdated and unused laws most probably because there is a long, complex process involved when removing a law from the statute books in Britain. The removal has to be approved at no less than four separate stages, which is why there are many laws which aren’t upheld, practiced or adhered to any longer.
We are all aware of the law that you need to have a license for a TV set, however did you know that you also need a license to keep or house a lunatic?
Housing a lunatic in our homes is a creepy thought and probably not something we would undertake, however what if we have a ghost residing in our homes? For Phasmophobic’s (people with a fear of ghosts), that would truly be terrifying.
With Halloween celebrations now over you may feel that a haunted home or a house of horrors is in the past, however, All About Money recently carried out research which revealed that more than 15% of UK adults believe that there is something ghostly going on in their homes and that 1 in 8 UK homes are haunted1.
Stately homes, hotels, pubs, castles, churches and hospitals. Nearly every type of building has a story about a spooky apparition.
Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations applied to property sales, house sellers are obliged to declare if a sale has previously fallen through due to a bad survey, which details structural faults within the property and any other information which could adversely affect the value, or the new owner’s enjoyment of the property.
Buyers could potentially take action against a seller for years after the sale of the property has been agreed, so the seller shouldn’t assume that once they’ve moved out, the problem has gone away if the buyer hasn’t been told about any issue relating to the property.
Although the Act doesn’t actually refer to haunted properties, it does mention that sellers do have a duty to avoid making false or misleading statements. Theoretically, this should stop a seller from claiming that a house is not haunted if he or she believes otherwise, although the seller or buyer, may have difficulty proving there is a ghost occupying the property in a court of law.
When surveyed more than three quarters of the 135 estate agents polled said that former crime scenes or rumours the property is haunted can devalue a house by up to a fifth and can be twice as difficult to sell compared to a ‘normal’ property.
“A house with a chequered past can come with a stigma attached to it, particularly to those who live locally and have preconceptions of the property,” said Robin King, Director at Move with Us who conducted the research. “With this sort of property, buyers often put in a lower offer or will use the history as a bargaining tool.”2
But what about the ‘house from hell’ in Ceinws, Wales, the rental property where Mark Bridger killed April Jones. Ironically named Mount Pleasant, fragments of April’s body parts were found in the fireplace, however her body has never been recovered. It was bought from the owners by the Welsh Government and reduced to rubble in order for everyone to move on and stop the unwanted guests from visiting the property for their own morbid fascination.
There is, however, always the alternative where a ghost or a grisly murder can enhance the desirability of a property. According to Stacks Property Search they once had an American client who was actively seeking a haunted property3.
In America there are some states where you need to reveal emotional defects which could affect property value. In New York the State Supreme Court sellers must explicitly inform buyers of all defects, including intangible ones like hauntings.
In California if a death occurs in the home you have to declare it for three years after the event.
With American’s love of raising a lawsuit and insurances perhaps the UK aren’t far behind and it won’t be long till we are insuring our properties against ghosts or having to declare a sighting of a spooky apparition.