Must a seller disclose that his home is haunted?
The elevator opened on the seventh floor of the Baker Hotel. The maid rolled out her cart full of cleaning supplies and rags. She knew of the stories. The grand hotel now an empty shell, back in the day hosted guests such as Clark Gable and Judy Garland and was rumored Bonnie and Clyde had once spent the night within one of the hotels elegant rooms. The story as told to her by other workers, circled around a young red-headed woman. She was the lover of a man who owned the hotel. He always provided her the corner room on the seventh floor, one of the most luxurious for her night’s stay. The owner however, a married man who on one cold and lonely night decided to leave her and remain with his wife and family. The jolted woman climbed up the stairs of the fourteen story building and up upon the roof. She stared off into the cold Texas twilight cursed his name once and then leaped from the concrete parapet to her death on the black asphalt below.
The legend told over and over again that she still roamed the seventh floor. The maid always gave a slight chuckle trying to shrug off the story yet the story remained in some deep crevice of her memory. She pushed the cart to the corner room. As she approached she thought she heard in a woman’s voice, sobbing, but when she unlocked the door all was quiet. The room had not been occupied for weeks and appeared perfect, the bed made, the towels folded neatly in the bathroom. She proceeded to dust the area. In such an old building located in Mineral Wells Texas, dust was a constant battle. She lifted the drinking glasses one at a time and polished them off with a white rag then replaced them upside down on the oak table. She closed and locked the door. She went to each room on the floor dusting and cleaning as needed. Every now and then she felt someone behind her, when she turned nothing but an empty hallway. While she waited for the service elevator, the sobbing started again, could this be a trick of an over imaginative mind? The day already long, she had more rooms to clean.
The next morning the same routine, she exited the elevator on the seventh floor and pushed her cart to the corner bedroom. No sounds this time as she unlocked the door. The room appeared the same as the day before except for the slight sweet odor of perfume, odd she thought. Dust had made a return and she fluttered the duster wherever the dust accumulated. She walked over to wipe the drinking glasses to find one of them right side up with a wisp of bright red lipstick on the rim. The hotel has been closed for many years but stories of the woman on the seventh floor persist. The aroma of perfume, the apparitions and the water glasses left in her empty room found the next day with lipstick stains on the rim can be considered evidence she really never left the seventh floor. If you would like more info on the Baker Hotel please click on this link. http://www.hauntedhouses.com/states/tx/baker_hotel.htm
If this was your building or you owned a home you believed haunted and you placed it on the market, would you be required by Texas law to disclose the haunting? The disclosure laws of Texas are clear on what you need to disclose and what you are not required to disclose. In the state of Texas you do not need to disclose death by natural causes, suicides or accidents unrelated to the property, occurred on the property or the previous owner had, may have had, has or may have AIDS, HIV related illness or HIV infection. You would be required to disclose an accidental death on the property caused by the condition or a murder that has occurred on the property. Only facts must me disclosed. Nevertheless if there is any doubt it is always better to disclose more than less. If you believe your home is haunted there is no Texas law stating you must disclose the haunting. For those shoppers however, it is buyers beware. A buyer must always do his homework before purchasing a home. Happy Halloween!