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does a real estate agent have to disclosure any problem with the neighbors who are animal hoarders?

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June 30 2011 - East Meadow
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I'm just wondering how an agent would be qualified to know the neighbor was hoarding animals in the first place.  If there is evidence of too many animals, and the city has an ordinance about this, then the seller has the option to simply report the issue as a nusiance.  If the neighbor is a danger to themselves or animals are neglected and can be witnessed without tresspassing, the person has a responsibility to report neglected animals to the human society and neglected persons to adult protective services, or child protective services.  if the person simply has a lot of animals but cares for them well and is not a nusiance or danger to themselves...then there is a responsibility to mind one's own business. 
If the seller has an opinion about the neighbor with no evidence, it is an opinion.  same with the agent.   what would be wrong is if you discovered a real problem and did nothing to resolve it, just stood by and "disclosed it"   or if you had an opinion that a problem existed but nothing substantial to report and disclosed it - but no such problem existed...wrong and possibly harrassment??   

if there is a problem and a person or animal is in danger, there is a responsibilty to report it.  in some states, failure to report such danger is against the law.  if you are not qualified to determine a person is a danger to themself but you see evidence that it's possible, report it and let the experts figure that out. 
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June 30 2011
Profile picture for sunnyview
Sounds like a slippery slope to me. Animal hoarding is most often tied to those with an underlying psychological disorder. If the neighbor is mentally ill or impaired, requiring the agent to disclose it may put them straight up against fair housing law since the neighbor may be considered a protected class.

I agree that the agent needs to cover themselves, but I am curious how an animal hoarder next door would be any different to disclosing a pedophile next door or an inmate half way house or a neighbor's race or employment level. Agents generally stay away from answering any questions like that for a good reason.
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June 30 2011
Arl, you'll definately need to talk to the legal department of your brokerage. If you're broker is small, then call the local/state board as they typically have free legal advise for these types of questions.

The way I was taught, if you ask the question "do I need to disclose this?" then the answer is yes. Disclosure until you're blue in the face and leave nothing out. You need to protect yourself, and this is all you have to protect yourself with.

Tim H
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June 30 2011
Chris and Sinead, you could very well be right.  I guess my reasoning was along the lines of what Chris's question is:  what exactly constitutes hoarding and if the amount of animals was illegal, then it is something that should be a reportable offense.
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June 30 2011
A real estate agent has to disclose anything that would be deemed material to the buyers, with the exception that it would violate Fair Housing laws. What exactly do you mean "animal hoarders"?
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June 30 2011
I don't think so.  However, the town would probably be interested in knowing about any animal hoarding going on.
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June 30 2011
If they know about it, absolutely.
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June 30 2011
 
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