Couple sues realtor over sale of house where double murder occurred

If Hollywood were a true representation of North America, it would happen all the time: A family moves into their dream home only to learn it was the scene of a grisly murder that still haunts the site to this day.

Of course Hollywood is a fictitious land of make-believe and such absurd plot devices would never happen in Canada's pleasant world of real estate.

Tell that to Eric and Sade-Lea Tekoniemi, who are suing after being sold their very own murder house.

The Toronto Star reports the couple bought a Bowmanville, Ont., home last year, later to learn that it had been the scene of a double homicide 15 years ago. They claim their real estate agent and the home's former owners did not disclose the home's sordid past.

According to the Star, the Tekoniemis' statement of claim describes the details of the murder as a "material defect… which stigmatized, psychologically impacted and tainted the property."

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Psychologically-tainted property is the worst kind of tainted property. Next to asbestos and water damage.

How gruesome does a murder have to be before it would affect your decision to buy a house? And how long would you need between death and occupancy before you would feel comfortable in a home?

These questions, in essence, form the backbone of a real estate agent's decision on whether he or she must disclose cases of death or assault inside property being sold.

There is no rule that specifically requires an Ontario real estate agent, or an agent anywhere else in Canada, announce any and all murder that have occurred in a house. In Ontario, the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act requires a salesperson know the facts about the house they are selling and "disclose the material facts to the client."

Also part of the act is the sound requirement that every broker follow a code of ethics, treating everyone fairly, honestly and with integrity. Other provinces similarly protect against agents making false or misleading statements.

Sherri Haigh, communications manager for the Real Estate Council of Ontario, would not comment on the case involving the Tekoniemis.

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But she said agents are required to follow their gut on what should be disclosed to buyers. That could relate to mentioning controversial figures that live in the area, recent criminal events or historical homicides.

"If you feel it is relevant, it is probably worth mentioning," she told Yahoo! Canada.

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