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Buying a haunted house: Australians not afraid of skeletons in the closet

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Australians are not easily spooked when it comes to buying a haunted house, according to research conducted by Slater and Gordon Conveyancing.

While Australians have embraced Halloween in recent years; it seems ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night would do little to deter them from buying a house.

Slater and Gordon surveyed 2000 Australians with more than 96 per cent saying they would not be dissuaded from buying a house because of local legend that it was haunted.

Women were slightly more likely than men to be put off, with 6 per cent saying rumours a house was haunted would be enough to scare them off, compared to only 2 per cent of men. 

Over 55s were the least likely to be fazed with only 2 per cent saying it would deter them, compared to 6 per cent of 16-24 year olds and 5 per cent of 25-34 year olds.

Slater and Gordon Conveyancing Lawyer Robert Kern said there were no specific laws which required vendors to disclose alleged paranormal activity or even whether a violent crime had been committed on the premises.

“However it is up to the agent to be fully informed and that includes asking vendors if there have been previous issues with the property,” Mr Kern said.

“That means that if the agent is asked by the buyer they are obliged to disclose that information, particularly if it is likely to affect the buyers’ decision, for example if there are cultural sensitivities that need to be considered.”

Mr Kern said the law was concerned with more tangible matters.

“Under the common law sellers are required to disclose defects in title to prospective buyers, such as easements, covenants and leases.  

“However the law differs from state to state, so it’s important sellers are aware of their obligations,” he said.

Such legislative differences include:

  • In New South Wales you are required to disclose flood information;
  • In South Australia you are required to disclose if there is a mining tenement over the property;
  • In Queensland, South Australia and Victoria you are required to disclose if the land is registered on the Environmental Management or Contaminated Land Registry
  • In Victoria and New South Wales you are required to disclose if the land is contained in a bushfire prone zone; and
  • In Tasmania, you are required to disclose if there are any graves on the property. 

Australians were far more likely to be put off by the corporeal than the supernatural, listing heavy traffic, noisy neighbours and nearby busy licensed venues as the top three deterrents to purchasing a property.