Can You Own A Haunted House In New York State?
New York state is known for having some unique laws and regulations, but this is one law that should exist in other states too.
You might agree with this one, though.
Listen to Clay & Company, Every Weekday Morning on 106.5 WYRK
Based on the 2022 U.S. Housing Market, the best months to buy a house are from September-February, typically due to “lower home prices, higher median days on market, and more price reductions.”
And if you are looking for a home, just make sure you don’t buy one that’s haunted (unless you’re into that sort of thing). After all, it is spooky season.
But thanks to a 1991 ruling, you at least will be informed as to whether or not the house is haunted beforehand.
WHAT WAS THE 1991 RULING?
Back in 1991, the New York Supreme Court decided a house was “legally haunted.” It was called the “Ghostbuster Ruling,” named after the smash hit film “Ghostbusters,” originally released in 1984.
Some called it the “Ghost House,” but Helen Ackley just called it “home.” At least, she did when she lived there from the 1960s through the 1980s. It was a beautiful home – no doubt about that, located in the village of Nyack which is just north of Manhattan. However, it is pretty crazy to look at the history of the home.
Although Ackley lived there for years, she claimed that Revolutionary War spirits were present in the home. It even got some coverage in local newspapers, according to People. There were reports of beds being shaken, ghost interactions, and other encounters.
Finally, Ackley attempted to sell the house after nearly 20 years, but it backfired.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN ACKLEY SOLD THE GHOST HOUSE?
Jeffrey Stambovsky, who was from the New York City area, wanted to buy the house when it went up for sale, but he was allegedly never told of the haunting until after he signed the buying contract and made a $32,500 down payment on the home.
Ackley, the seller of the home, didn’t want to sign her end of the contract until the haunted was disclosed to the buyers, so the broker called Stambovsky to inform him of the hauntings, and he apparently didn’t seem too bothered by it – so Ackley signed her end of the contract and the house was headed to closing.
However, Stambovsky had a different version of the story, and he said he was never informed of the hauntings, and he ended up filing an action against Ackley and the broker from Ellis Realty. He requested for the contract to be canceled since he never knew of the paranormal activity at the home.
WHAT WAS THE FINAL VERDICT?
Stambovsky ended up winning the case, especially since there were newspaper articles over the years that covered the activity at the home where Ackley lived, and he was able to back out of the contract since the house was officially called “haunted.”
Thanks to that ruling, New York state homeowners must disclose that a house is haunted before a sale goes through.
If it is not, courts can (and will) rescind a home sale, especially if the homeowner “creates and perpetuates a reputation that the house is haunted and then takes unfair advantage of a buyer's ignorance of the home's ghostly reputation,” according to NBC New York.
So yes, you can own a haunted house if you want to, but you have a right to know if it’s haunted first before you purchase it. If you are not told before the purchase, you have every right to enforce legal action.
There may be a lot of laws and regulations in New York state, but I think most people support this one.