In California, homes for sale or rent must carry a disclosure about a death on the property—but only if that death occurred in the past three years (that's the official cap on state-recognized heebie-jeebies). Anyone who wants to dig farther into the past doesn't have it so easy. Which is where the service Died in House comes in. The South Carolina-based landlord Roy Condrey was frustrated that he couldn't turn up any death-related information on one of his properties. "There is no carfax for your house," Condrey tells HotPads. "I couldn't find anything online that provided the information. What I found were pages and pages of people asking the same question." So he launched Died in House last year. The service, which costs $14.99, uses an algorithm to scour local records and returns a report showing known deaths in the home, along with the cause if it's been disclosed.
The idea is to avoid surprises, like the unpleasant revelation faced by a Missouri woman who didn't know that her rented house was previously occupied by a serial killer until she saw her own home featured on a TV documentary. "I'm not trying to tell you how to feel about the information," Condrey tells HotPads, "but I do feel like it should be disclosed to you if you want to know."
With Condrey's data trove in hand, HotPads produced a set of maps showing homes where deaths have occurred—the heatmaps in particular are appropriately ectoplasm-like—in cities including Chicago and Boston. In San Francisco, lots of deaths are clustered around Downtown and Western Addition, which correlates with population density and not, say, the health hazards of living in an elevator building. If it's any consolation, Downtown also appears to have the highest concentration of cats.
· Laws Regarding Death Disclosures in Real Estate Transactions in California [SFGate]
· Died in House [Official Site]
· Are You Living In A "Died In" House? [HotPads]
· Find Out If Someone Died in Your Boston Home [Curbed Boston]
· Mapping the Real Housecats of San Francisco [Curbed SF]