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Family flees haunted house; Sues landlord
Topic Started: Apr 16 2012, 09:32 AM (176 Views)
Duck
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Quote:
 


http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012...-sues-landlord/  video at the link

A New Jersey couple is suing their landlord for a refund after they said paranormal activity caused them to flee their rental home.

Michele Callan and her fiance, Josue Chinchilla, moved into the home in Toms River, N.J., with Callan’s two children on March 1 and were immediately spooked.

“Three taps on the TV, taps on the shoulder…” Chinchilla told ABC News.

At first they chalked it up to the adjustment period of moving into a new home.

But things only got spookier, they said.

Doors opened and closed. The family even claimed they recorded strange voices whispering, “Let it burn.”

The new tenants said that between the menacing voices, flickering lights and clothes mysteriously flying from their closets, they couldn’t take it anymore. They fled the three-bedroom home and checked into a hotel, where they said they have been living since March 13.

Callan and Chinchilla filed suit last week in New Jersey Superior Court, seeking the return of their $2,250 security deposit from their landlord, Richard Lopez.

Lopez filed a counter-suit claiming the couple is using alleged paranormal activity as a way to break their lease.

“Frankly, there is something else going on,” David Semanchik, who is Lopez’s lawyer, told the Asbury Park Press. “She is a single mom, she has this fiancé living with her. I think she is in over her head and she can’t afford the rent.”

The couple said that isn’t the case, but ultimately a judge will have the final word on whether the family will be able to escape their alleged nightmare on Lowell Avenue.


I don't think they have a ghost of a chance with the Judge.
 
lifesmate
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Always a good idea to look into their personal circumstances. :)

 
Duck
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I t does look like a fairly large house for a single mum and getting $2500 back is more than enough motive. I guess it all depends on state law and whether there is a clause about revealing pertinent past history. I highly doubt it though.

Here's how they roll in Virginia

Quote:
 

1. An act or occurrence which had no effect on the physical structure of the real property, its physical environment, or the improvements located thereon; or

2. A homicide, felony, or suicide.

  Virginia's Seller Disclosure law defines stigmatizing events (such as ghosts, murders, etc.) that had no material effect on the property as non-material. Standard of Practice 2-5, combined with this disclosure law, releases Virginia's REALTORS®from the obligation of disclosing stigmatizing events.

Although you are not obligated to affirmatively disclose this information, you are still required under Article 1 of the Code of Ethics and state law (¤ 54.1-2131 B) to be honest with all prospective buyers. If the buyer in this case had directly asked about the presence of ghosts, the listing agent would be prohibited from providing any false responses to this question.

When listing agents ask for my advice on how to respond to such a direct question, I recommend avoiding the question. I recommend the following truthful but evasive response: "Ghosts, suicides or alien abductions are defined as non-material under state law, and agents are advised to avoid discussing non-material facts that stigmatize a property." It is important to avoid providing any answers that can be viewed as denying the existence of ghosts in this situation because that could open up a dispute over the honesty of such answers. 

Many buyers become very upset when they learn that agents do not have an obligation to disclose the fact that the house is haunted. The buyers eventually will discover the issue, probably the first time they meet the neighbors. Please react professionally if a buyer becomes upset. It may help defuse or refocus their anger if you refer them to the statutes referenced above or provide them with a copy of this article. You also can refer their questions and concerns to the Professional Services Department if you need any help explaining this information to irate buyers. However, no matter how angry the buyers get, please don't tell them to "call Ghostbustersª" if they want to take care of the ghosts. That one I did not make up, though I really wish I had.
 
Duck
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As a follow up to this story it arrived on the desk of doubtful news. The story itself is the same and little is added but below that the comments section has a lengthy discussion with the investigation team and I found it both enlightening and interesting how definitions are used, expectations are derived and conclusions made. It gets quite heated as usual when sceptics interrogate claims of believers and no more so than when sceptics interrogate the claims of those claiming to uses the scientific method. Still, that heat has purpose as learning is a process of conflict with internal and external influences. Read it all and I assure you will come away with a better understanding of that process.

I learned about Skitt's law :D

http://doubtfulnews.com/2012/04/family-cla...tors-called-in/
 
Duck
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Update*

Paranormal claims thrown out of court

Quote:
 

    “The People’s Court” has ruled in the case of the Toms River “haunted house.”

    Judge Marilyn Milian of the nationally syndicated television program ordered Thursday that Josue Chinchilla and Michele Callan pay three months in lost rent to their landlord, Dr. Richard Lopez, according to Kerstin Augur, the show’s publicist.

    In other words, Lopez gets to keep the couple’s security deposit and is due rent on the three-bedroom ranch for the month of May, as the family still has their furniture and many of their belongings in the home.

    After hearing the “spooky evidence,” which included audio tapes and testimony, Milian ordered Lopez to spend at least one night in the house himself, Augur said.

    The case is scheduled to air at the start of the fall television season in September.

    “I agree that these folks truly believe the place is haunted,” [David] Semanchik [lawyer for landlord, Lopez] said. “But that’s not sufficient enough proof under the law. We have contracts and there has to be an objective standard for us to break a contract.”

    Semanchik said the judge said no court in the United States has ever recognized the existence of ghosts.

    But, he said, if there is a haunting in this case, perhaps it is the tenants themselves who are being haunted as opposed to the property.
 
sherry
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sherry
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So the courts aren't actually dismissing ghosts could be haunting the people, but not agreeing it's to do with the property being haunted.

Realistically no court will ever go along with this sort of case. It'd be another huge insurance claim type thing going on. Just imagine how many people don't like living where they are. What a quick get out clause. Makes sense not to accept it.

Even so I do believe - as you know - that there are haunted properties. I also believe there are people who will experience ghost activity wherever they go.

Does anyone know what happened about the hauntings of a country mansion where the family moved out because of what was happening there? Quite gruesome stuff if I remember correctly. It was put up for sale but last I heard it hadn't been sold. Was it in Nottinghamshire?
 
sherry
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Found it - Clifton Hall Nottinghamshire


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics...ed-mansion.html
 
sherry
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And heres a point of view from an investigation team member


http://www.silentvoices.org.uk/#/the-clifton-hall/4547541848
 
Duck
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Yes I remember that one and I also remember mining a fair bit of background on the man and his financial problems, he'd filed for bankruptcy and was more or less broke, the last recession was rough on the lone businessman. The two cases share much in common as they are both financially motivated and present the scantest of evidence beyond the findings of a group of individuals already convinced or the existence of ghosts...hardly compelling. I don't believe in haunted houses, I believe in haunted imaginations, it requires far less assumption and to date has proven pretty reliable..the courts would seem to agree.
 
sherry
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The courts have to agree. Imagine what would happen if they didn't. They'd be in undated!

Are you sure he was bankcrupt? The story I read above - I thought it said he was worth millions.


 
Duck
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The active word is 'was' yes he filed for bankruptcy a couple of months before the haunting story.
 
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