SALT LAKE CITY — The home that police say hosted the murder of a University of Utah student, Mackenzie Lueck, is back on the housing market. However, the online listing is raising a few eyebrows among the neighbors.
It’s not just what’s on the listing that has some neighbors questioning it, but what’s not on it, also. The Zillow listing doesn’t make any mention of Lueck’s murder, whatsoever. It mentions that the basement needs work “due to water,” and it describes the home as “the cutest house on the block.”
One nearby resident chuckled while he asked, “Really?” Another called it “B.S.”
Some neighbors say life is getting back to normal on 1000 West, and a lot of people are moving back into the west side of the city. Still, they believe information about the crime should be on the listing.
One man said, “You need to know what happened in there before because if you have strangers showing up in front of your house, you want to know why.”
The current tenant, who didn’t want to be named, says the person showing him the house was perfectly honest and transparent about the house’s history. He says the murder was gruesome and tragic, but it wouldn’t affect his stay there. He tells KSL a lot of other potential renters passed on staying there when they were informed of the attack, but his upbringing in Pennsylvania makes him not worry about things like that.
“We were the site of the Civil and Revolutionary wars. You can’t dig a swimming pool [without digging up something]. Every farm field has been a battleground in Pennsylvania,” he says.
To be clear, attorneys say the sellers are not breaking any rules by leaving out the details of the crime on the listing. Former prosecutor Kent Morgan says the previous owner, Ayoola Ajayi, hasn’t been convicted of Lueck’s murder and he wouldn’t have to say anything that would incriminate himself.
“There is no requirement that he waive his 5th Amendment rights and say, ‘I murdered somebody in the downstairs basement,’” Morgan said.
Sellers are required to tell prospective buyers, up front, if there was any activity that could have caused lasting damage to the value or the safety of the home. For instance, if there were a meth lab in the house, a seller would have to disclose that since the chemicals trapped in the walls could lead to health problems for the next owners. Morgan says a homicide wouldn’t necessarily cause that kind of damage to the house, however, sellers aren’t allowed to hide it, either.
“Once you’re confronted you have to tell the truth and give the person who is purchasing an opportunity to make a decision based upon that truth,” he said.
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