Homicide on property- advice needed!

4 Replies

My husband and I are very interested in purchasing an 11 acre plot of land, which contains a single family dwelling. It is located in a prime location, we are confident it will appreciate quickly, is in a great school district, historically very low crime rate, etc. 

The catch: A homicide occurred on the land (not in the house) in 2003. The initial autopsy noted the cause of death as drowning in a small pond on the property; however, after further investigation in 2019 (yes, 16 years later), the cause of death was amended to homicide. Therefore, the case was reopened and the story was featured on the news 2 weeks ago, including a 9 minute interview with the deceased man's daughter. One news report noted investigators may even consider draining the small pond. 

Our ideal plan would be to rent out the house on the property for a few years and then build our forever/dream home on the land. Clearly, we would not plan on selling the property anytime soon. 

Our questions:  

1) Should the homicide be a red flag?  It did occur 17 years ago AND was not in the house, but the case was just recently reopened, so has the potential to cause us some headache, etc. 

2) If you have experienced death on your property, did you have trouble finding tenants?  

3) What would you do in our situation, considering this is an ideal plot of land and location to build our dream home on? 

There are slight state-by-state differences in the law about disclosure information to tenants about a death on the property. I highly suggest you to learn about your state's specific laws about required disclosures from your state real estate. Knowing the types of information that should be disclosed may help you as you buy properties. Also, as you mentioned the death did not happen in the house but, on the land.

For Oregon, the law Section 1. ORS 93.275 specifically states that landlords are not required to inform prospective tenants whether a death occurred on the property. It further clarifies that no cause of action will arise against an owner or landlord for failure to disclose death.

To answer your third question, if you think that the death on the property does not bother you at all, I’d say you go for it and stick to your plan.