Home Sellers Didn’t Disclose “The Watcher” and Now Face Lawsuit
What happens when your dream house becomes a nightmare? A couple in Westfield, New Jersey found out when they started living the plot of a horror movie after buying their so-called dream house last year.
What they want to know now is who is “the watcher” and why didn’t the previous owners mention him?
After purchasing a $1.3 million house, you might like to move into it; however, when the watcher doesn’t want you to, then you might not. Which means that $1.3 million just went down the drain.
A couple found this out the hard way when, after putting down the $1.3 million, they started getting threatening letters from someone who called himself “the watcher.” And the watcher had a lot to say.
For example, he claimed he had been watching the house for a decade and that his father watched the house before him and his grandfather before that. He claimed the former residents knew about him and that he had asked them to give him some young blood.
Creepy quotes from the letters include:
- “Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them to me.”
- He once “ran from room to room imagining the life with the rich occupants there.”
- “Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will.”
- “Who has the rooms facing the street? I’ll know as soon as you move in.”
Now, it is understandable that you might be a little freaked out if you started getting these letters because at the very best it means you are about to get one weird neighbor, and at the worst it could be a whole lot worse than that.
However, if you disclose these skeevy letters, you might have a little problem selling your house because nobody wants to buy a house being watched by a creepy weirdo. Which is the situation this couple finds themselves in now.
The previous residents did not disclose this information–even though it is alleged that they got at least one letter from the watcher a couple of weeks before they closed–and they sold the house. This couple made a big deal about it (because why wouldn’t you? I’d want some police protection, too) and now everybody knows and nobody wants to buy.
Which is why the buyers decided to sue.
The buyers decided that the sellers had a duty to disclose the watcher and that the watcher had a duty to not stalk them. Because of this, they decided to sue them both.
Here is the problem with both of the suits:
- Under New Jersey law, you have to disclose latent defects–think, the old wiring is likely to start a fire. However, there is no known requirement to report other things such as house stalkers. While there is a chance that a lawyer could somehow turn this on its head and win the case (since this is pretty unique and there is no current case law to give us a hint to the verdict), the chances are probably pretty low.
- Since nobody knows who the watcher is, it will be pretty hard to serve him papers. Though, of course, they could always deliver them to the house where the watcher seems to spend a lot of time. He will probably see them when they come if he is as good a watcher as he claims to be.
If You Know Anything …
The biggest problem in this case, of course, is that nobody seems to know who the watcher is, which makes it hard to catch him (or her, but I’ve been using him in the most gender-less way possible).
So if you live in the area and have information, don’t hesitate to tell the police. It would be nice to get this guy–or girl–off the streets.