What is a “Stigmatized Property”?
The Real Estate Act in Alberta does not define the term “stigmatized property”. It can mean different things to different people but generally it means an unfavourable quality or something that may make a property less desirable.
We are not talking about physical qualities such as structural or obvious defects. For the most part, “stigmas” are events or circumstances that have occurred that affect people’s perceptions of a property. Some examples of “stigmas” might include:
- A death occurred in the property
- The home has been robbed or vandalized in the past
- The former owner was suspected of, or has been convicted of crime
- The property has been reported as “haunted”
- A former grow-op that has been remediated according to the health authority
For many people these “stigmas” are irrelevant. For others, they can be critical when making a decision on purchasing the property. As an example, would it matter to you if a death had occurred in the home? Some say “yes” while others don’t care. Consider the following:
- Would a death by suicide or murder make the property unacceptable to you?
- What if it were an elderly person brought home to live out their last days in the comfort of their own home?
- How about a crib death of a newborn?
- What about the death of a pet?
- Would it be as concerning if any of these events happened many years ago?
- Would an accidental death on the street in front of the home be an issue for you?
The Real Estate Act and Rules do not define stigmatized properties. Sellers or industry members who represent them are not required to disclose circumstances that others may consider as stigmas.
You should consider your areas of concern and discuss them with your industry representative (often your REALTOR) and ensure that inquiries are made when purchasing a property. Sellers need to consider the consequences of disclosing or not disclosing and perhaps seek legal advice.
If you wish to read the complete article published by the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA), click this link.