Realtor Embroiled In 'Murder Mansion' Dispute
KHOU reported that Nir Golan was ready to move into his new home in the Houston suburb of Seabrook, Texas, when he learned of the property's gruesome history, which is genuinely Stephen King-worthy. The "Murder Mansion," long since demolished, was the location of the 1984 murder of Texas millionaire Bill List, who was known to house local teenagers in return for sexual favors--until one of the kids shot him.
Golan, who believes the house is haunted and notes that "a lot of people say there's shadows of children," is currently fighting to get his deposit back. Horror aficionados will note that Golan is operating by the "Indian burial ground" principle (see: The Shining, Poltergeist), in which evil maintains a geographic influence even if the structure that originally housed it is gone.
"There was a murder, but the murder wasn't in this house," he told KHOU. "It was on the property. And I'm trying to explain to him it doesn't matter. A property is your front yard, your backyard."
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Golan added that the realtor never disclosed the property's history, and that living there would be "against [his] religion."
Realtors have never had it easy. The housing market may be in recovery, but realtors are still an almost universally resented bunch, up there with loan sharks and used car dealers. Sure, anyone who's ever used Craigslist can attest to the fact that there are some sketchy agents out there--but at the same time, the pressure of buying a home can turn even seemingly sane, even-tempered clients into raving lunatics.
Gerald Treece, a professor at the South Texas College of Law, finds Golan's demands particularly unreasonable.
"That law in Texas is clear," he said. "There is not a duty to disclose in most circumstances. And on the issue of religion, there is no duty of the seller to be a mind reader and guess the religious objections a renter could have."
For now, Golan can rest at least somewhat easy--he may not have gotten his deposit back (he's planning to sue on that front), but the homeowner has agreed to terminate the lease. Just tell him not to do any of the shopping for his next house here. And to keep the lights on at night, when the shadows of children smudge the walls...
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