The legal system is filled with rules, laws, and exceptions. Many exceptions themselves have exceptions. Here is one example regarding real estate:
A person wants to sell his home in California. Is he required to tell a buyer if somebody has died in the home? Generally, no.
Except if the person died within three years of the date of the offer to purchase. If somebody has died on the property within that three-year period, the seller must disclose that fact.
Except if the decedent was afflicted with, or died from, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (“AIDS”, referred to as “Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type III/LAV Lymphadenopathy-Associated Virus” in the statute). If a person was afflicted with, or died from, AIDS, at any time, the seller has no obligation to disclose that fact to a buyer, and generally is advised against doing so.
But if the buyer makes a “direct inquiry” concerning deaths on the property, the seller is not allowed to misrepresent the facts. If a death is not AIDS-related, the seller will likely need to disclose any known death on the property, regardless of how long ago it occurred. If a death was AIDS-related, some authorities suggest that the best course of action is for a seller to refuse to respond to a direct inquiry regarding deaths on the property.
The information in this blog is general in nature. The law is constantly changing, and exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, run rampant throughout the legal system. Every case is different. You are advised to contact an attorney with any questions you may have about your individual case.