Should homeless encampments be on the seller's disclosure!

Real Estate Broker with RE/MAX Professionals.


Should homeless encampments be on the seller's disclosure!

What should be on the seller's disclosure form?  Several people have asked me this question.  We have run the gambit in our state of what is on the seller disclosure.  At one point we were asked if there were any farms within a radius of the home.  This didn't make much sense for a house or condo in downtown Seattle or Tacoma.

The main reason for writing this was from a question I received from a new homeowner.  (Not my client!) She told me that she was never informed that there was a homeless encampment (Its been there for more than 6 months) not two blocks from her house she had just purchased.  She thought it should've been disclosed by the seller.  The encampment is behind a church but definitely has caused houses for sale nearby to remain on the market, and if sold, affects the price point. Of course, a lawyer, had told this lady she should sue both the listing and the selling brokers and agents. The old blame game.

Paul Henderson. ©2012, All Rights Reserved,

On our current seller's disclosure I find no mention of what the neighbors depict as an eyesore.  Some of these neighbors have had their houses on the market for several months.  We all understand that the economy has a lot to do with houses not selling but when you throw in an unzoned multifamily development, people get suspicious.

I would not have known of this encampment unless I've had been told what to look for and where.  Our inspection addendum does allow for a neighborhood review however does one expect to encounter a homeless encampment in a suburban neighborhood?  If you saw a church with a large fenced in area in the back; would you become suspicious?

What is your line of thinking on this?  


This post was authored  and picture taken by Paul Henderson ©2012, All Rights Reserved, This content may not be reproduced or reprinted (Except for ActiveRain Re-blogging) without express written permission of Paul HendersonRE/MAX Professionals, Tacoma, WA.

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Paul Henderson, Residential Real Estate Broker


RE/MAX Professionals

As a Residential Broker and Relocation Specialist, I sell homes in or around JBLM, DuPont, Tacoma, Gig Harbor and Hartstene Pointe in Washington State.
Please visit my website at to search for homes and information 

(all information is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed or warranted in any way)

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(As a member of the NWMLS, this blog post is intended to comply with NWMLS rules as pertaining to blogging.)



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  1. David A. Weaver 06/12/2012 10:26 PM
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neighborhood review
sellers disclosure
homeless encampments

Comments 28 New Comment

Richie Alan Naggar Author PEARLS SERIES of books
on LIFE and LOVE plus Real Estate too!
People first then business! Ran Right Realty Riverside, Ca

I have dealt with this and I am dealing with this now...If an agent knows something, it has to be disclosed. Homeless and transients for sure affect buying decisions...this could be a lawsuit waiting to happen if not disclosed..good post here

June 13, 2012 06:48 AM
Bob Crane
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9663
Woodland Management Service

Hi Paul, I think that you have to draw the line somewhere on these out of hand disclosures, and requiring sellers to report on what class of citizens live nearby goes way beyond the line.  Whats next "how many families of each race are located within a mile"?

June 13, 2012 06:49 PM
Georgie Hunter
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers

If the sellers knew about it then they should disclose.  I can understand if they weren't aware of it.  Buyers do need to check out the neighborhood first.  Now that they are part of the neighborhood, they can be part of the solution to the homeless camp.

June 13, 2012 09:00 PM
Paul Henderson
I always put my clients first in any transaction!
RE/MAX Professionals.

Bob, We don't establish what is reported. In our case the state of Washington's legislature mandates what's in the form. Right now, these mandates, average at least one new update per year. If something directly affects the price or equity of one's property should it not be disclosed? 

Georgina, I agree that now that she is part of the neighborhood she should use her vested interest, to help maintain her neighborhood or work on a solution. She felt that the sellers should have disclosed prior to closing so that she could have made the decision if she wanted to live within two blocks from the site. She equated it with painting over water marks, from flooding, in a basement. 

June 14, 2012 10:44 AM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

The flooding in the basement happend TO THE PROPERTY, something happening 2 blocks away is entirely different.

June 18, 2012 12:21 AM

Paul Henderson

I always put my clients first in any transaction!
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