Landlord didn't mention home's deadly past? That's legal in Missouri, Illinois

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by Chris Nagus / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 9 at 8:28 AM

(KMOV.com) - A News 4 investigation revealed one North St. Louis County woman was renting a house that belonged to a serial killer and she claims the landlord never told her.

In Missouri, you don't have to say anything to a buyer or renter if the home was the scene of suicide, murder or violent crime. In fact, only 3 states force sellers to tell a buyer.

Catrina McGhaw was not aware of any issues with the home when she signed the lease to the North St. Louis County home. Her section 8 voucher covered $810 in rent. But after watching a cold case documentary, she discovered she was living in the same house that was used as a torture chamber by serial killer Maury Travis.

Photos inside the home: ComputerMobile

After making the discovery she begged the landlord, Travis' mother, to let her out of the lease. She said no, but after News 4 stepped in to help, the local Housing and Urban Development office negotiated McGhaw out of the lease.

In Missouri, the state statute is clear: it is not mandatory for a seller to disclose psychologically impacted property. That includes homes where there was a murder or suicide. The law in Illinois is similar to Missouri in that it protects sellers from having to disclose psychologically impacted property.

15 states require you to tell a buyer or renter, but that’s only if they ask.

There are sites where you can go to check out if a property has been the scene of a violent crime or suicide, one is here.

 

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