Disclose Death on Property

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  • California law requires that licensees disclose any death which occurred on a property three years or less before lease or sale.
  • It makes an exception for a death caused by AIDS (CC §1710.2).
  • No cause of action arises against an owner of real property or his or her agent, or any agent of a transferee of real property, for the failure to disclose to the transferee the occurrence of an occupant’s death upon the real property or the manner of death where the death has occurred more than three years prior to the date the transferee offers to purchase, lease, or rent the real property, or that an occupant of that property was afflicted with, or died from, [AIDS].
  • It is not illegal to disclose an AIDS death; disclosure is optional.

Comment: Readers who were not following the initial stage of the AIDS epidemic when it occurred in the 1980’s, may not know that at that time much of public did not understand how AIDS was transmitted. Many believed it could be transmitted via long-lived viral agents shed by persons infected with AIDS. When lawmakers became convinced that AIDS could only be transmitted via blood-to-blood contact, they amended CC §1710.2 to provide brokers an exemption to the requirement that they disclose any death which occurred in a home three years prior to the date of its listing. The exemption was justified on the grounds that it was in the public interest to not perpetuate the myth that AIDS was transmitted by means other than intimate blood-to-blood contact.

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