Haunted Houses – Rent a Ghost?

“Three-bedroom terraced house in a popular location off Park Road, close to the Tesco Superstore. It has two singles and one double bedroom, rear yard, upstairs bathroom and two living rooms. Please note previous tenants have advised us that they have experienced paranormal activity at the property.”

If only all agents were as honest as those at Plus Dane who posted this ad on Rightmove earlier this year, for a property where a tenant was once lifted out of her bed by her poltergeist housemate.

According to a 2005 Portman Building Society (now Nationwide)  survey, over a third of us have lived in a house we believed was haunted. Also, a third of us would move out of a house if faced with paranormal activity; and 24% would hire an exorcist to try to chase off the ghosts. And while such paranormal activity wouldn’t necessarily dissuade all buyers from a property (37% would buy anyway), it could warrant a reduction in price.

Haunted house disclosure rules less strict in the UK than the US

In the UK, the Property Misdescriptions Act of 1991 does not refer to haunted houses, although it creates a general duty to avoid making false or misleading statements. In the US, the rules are stricter, with a 1991 court case holding a vendor liable for not having disclosed a house was haunted.  The buyer would have been very unlikely to discover the existence of such activity himself prior to purchase, hence the seller should have disclosed it – so the court’s judgement.

The Independent tells the sad story of Anwar Rashid and his family, who bought a house in Nottinghamshire for £3.6m in 2007, just to sell it for almost £1m less the following year, after having experienced tapping on the wall, unexplained voices, and screaming in the passageways. The 52 room residence has now been converted into a conference centre.

Ghost holidays is a popular niche market

In some cases, on the other hand, a haunted house can have significant PR value and even attract guests – for instance, in the case of a holiday home or a hotel. Whilst, for most of us, permanently living in a haunted house is too big an ask, you can still experience some paranormal activity for just a few days: Homeaway put together a list of haunted places to visit. Even better, we came across a specialist in ghost holiday accommodation in Wales: Haunted Holiday claims that  “the only things [we] won’t be scared of is [their] very competitive prices”. Haunted Rooms is another specialised ghost holiday website covering the UK and Ireland.

But before booking, do make sure the hosts are trustworthy, and that their ghosts don’t let you down!

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