Taiwan man sentenced for selling ‘cursed’ house

April 12th, 2009 - 5:55 am ICT by IANS  

Taipei, April 12 (DPA) A Taiwan man has been sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment for selling a house without telling the buyer that someone had committed suicide there, a newspaper said Sunday.
The Panchiao District Court handed down the sentence to Lee Chiong-chi Saturday because he did not tell the buyer, Chang, that it was a “violent house” - a Taiwan term meaning an unnatural death, murder or suicide had occurred at the house, the Liberty Times reported.

Lee bought the house in August 2006 for only 4.68 million Taiwan dollars ($140,000) because a lodger had committed suicide in the house by burning charcoal in the bathroom.

One month later, he sold it to Chang through a real estate agent for 5.45 million Taiwan dollars, for a profit of 770,000 Taiwan dollars.

Lee ticked “no” on the formal papers which had a clause asking if the house was a “violent house”.

After the Chang family moved into the house, neighbours told them about the suicide and they became frightened.

Chang said his little daughter could not sleep well at night and the family slept on sofas in the living room, and dared not used the bathroom, the scene of the suicide.

When Chang questioned Lee, he lied, saying the lodger burnt charcoal in the bathroom but died in hospital, so the house was not a “violent house”.

In addition to the jail sentence, The Panchiao District Court ordered Lee to take back the “violent house” and return the money to Chang.

According to Taiwan customs, a house where someone has died an unnatural death - being killed or having committed suicide - is haunted. Most people are afraid to live in such a house.

Under Taiwanese law, sellers must inform the buyer. If this does not occur, the house selling contract is invalid and the buyer can get his money back and sue the house seller for fraud.

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