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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Daily Real Estate News  |  November 8, 2004  |   Mass.: Only Discuss Stigmas If Asked The Massachusetts Association of REALTORSŪ’ legal hotline has been receiving more calls than usual—about 5 percent more—from members asking what to disclose to potential buyers regarding tragic incidents, such as suicides or murders, that may have occurred at a particular listing, according to Steve Ryan, MAR’s government affairs director and general counsel. Ryan says that under the state’s 1998 stigmatized property law, if a buyer doesn’t ask about a specific incident, real estate practitioners have no duty to investigate or disclose murders, suicides, allegations of ghosts, or other potential stigmas attached to a property. If a consumer asks, however, practitioners must answer the question regarding the stigma honestly and to the best of their knowledge. He cautions, however, that the stigmatized property law doesn’t apply to a homeowners’ HIV or AIDS status. According to the state’s privacy law, a real estate practitioner shouldn’t say anything about whether a homeowner has HIV or AIDS, even if a potential buyer asks about it. A number of states, including Connecticut, have similar laws, Ryan says. —By Pat Taylor for REALTORŪ Magazine Online

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