Her Rental was a Serial Killer's Playground

Written by Posted On Friday, 08 August 2014 09:22

In March, Catrina McGhaw moved into a rental. The house seemed fine except McGhaw claims her 2-year-old niece was playing in the basement when something freakyMaury Travis happened. According to CBS News, McGhaw told local station KMOV, “The child looked over … like she was scared. Like she saw somebody scared and crying and nobody was there.”

The station reports that Catrina McGhaw currently rents a house in Ferguson, Mo., that was once home to Maury Troy Travis. The 36-year-old waiter committed suicide in a county jail in 2002 after he was charged with killing two St. Louis area women. Police said he was a suspect in as many as 20 murders. The lessee said she had no problems with the home until a family member told her to check out a cold case documentary about serial killers that was airing on television, KMOV reports. McGhaw was shocked to turn on the program and discover that her rented home was once a crime scene.

According to the station, Travis allegedly used the house as a torture chamber. McGhaw said the landlord – who happened to be the murder’s mother – even gave her the dining room table that was featured in crime scene photos of the murder investigation. “When she showed us the house, she said you can have this table if you want,” McGhaw told KMOV. The home’s basement – where Travis allegedly recorded some of his crimes – is what freaked McGhaw out the most. She saw saw graphic videos of her basement that police say were made by the suspect, including one of a nude woman tied to a pole before being strangled with a belt.

The question over whether something like this is required to be disclosed is routinely asked, the answer is “not all of the time”. In Georgia, the policy is a classic “yes and no” -

The Attorney General’s office indicated that when a client or customer questions a licensee as to whether a property “was the site of a homicide or other felony or the site of a suicide,” the licensee should “answer truthfully to the best of such [licensee's] knowledge.

Licensees must affirmatively disclose material defects in the physical condition of the property. However, they are not required to disclose whether a homicide or other felony or a suicide occurred on a property unless a prospect asks them. The key distinction is that felonies, suicides, and infectious diseases generally do not involve the physical condition of the property. Their impact on the property is psychological.

So if you ask, the agent is compelled to be truthful. However, only material defects are REQUIRED to be disclosed according to the State of Georgia…and mass murder apparently isn’t a material defect. There are a number of sites available to research murder and mayhem and answer the question of “who died in this home”?

The woman told the station her landlord was unsympathetic. “She said, ‘No, you signed a lease. You need to stay there until the lease is up,’” McGhaw said. Travis’ mother told KMOV that she had previously revealed the home’s morbid history to McGhaw, a claim she denies. A local agent said murders, suicides and violent crimes are not things that landlords are required to disclose to potential renters. However, the St. Louis Housing Authority has said McGhaw can break the lease and move out at the end of this month. The lessee told the station August can’t come soon enough.

Ya think?

- See more at: http://hankmillerteam.com/2014/08/07/surprse-rental-includes-a-serial-killers-torture-chamber/#sthash.DmEW4Mcu.dpuf

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Hank Miller, SRA

Hank Miller is an Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser in the north metro Atlanta area. Since 1989, real estate has been his full time profession. Hank´s clients benefit from his appraisal and sales experience; they act upon data, not baseless opinions. He is an outspoken critic of the lax standards in the agent community.

Hank remains an active certified appraiser and completes specialty work for FNMA, lenders and attorneys. He is a well-known blogger and continues to guest write for multiple industry publications as well as national outlets like the WSJ, NYT, RE Magazine, USA Today and others. He is a regular on public Q&A sites on Zillow, Trulia and many others.

Hank consistently ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the metro Atlanta area. He runs the Hank Miller Team and is known as much for his ability as he is for his opinions. He is especially outspoken about the lack of professional standards and expectations in the real estate industry.


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