If There Is “S&M” And “Leather Sex” One Unit Below, You Might Want To Let Buyers Know

“Hi Alex-

Have I got a story for you…

When I closed the deal last Friday for [removed], my new condo in a 2-unit building, I had no idea my downstairs co-owner was a self-described “sex enthusiast” who engages in loud S&M “leather sex” on a regular basis. I learned this not from the seller or his agent, but via an email from the co-owner himself, which I received last Sunday night, after close.

The mere fact of the co-owner’s sexual preference doesn’t bother me in the least. But the possibility of it coming to the attention of my 10 year old son, whose bedroom was to be directly over the downstairs bedroom, enrages me.

By what measure does this not require disclosure? All parties to the sale knew I had a young boy who would be living with me. And I had expressed to my agent directly my concern over the possibility of an S&M dungeon in the common garage area, as that would be an inappropriate feature in a child’s environment.

Neither the seller or his agent told me about the use and type of noise coming from the lower unit, though the co-owner writes that this was a topic of conversation several times between the seller and him.

The level of noise transmitted between the units has been an ongoing issue. In fact, renovation of the seller’s unit was undertaken as recently as this year to help abate the noise: new sound proof padding and carpeting were added.

Despite the possibility that my 10 year old would be negatively affected by this noise type and unit use, this fact was kept from me during a full 6 weeks while I decided whether to purchase the condo.

I implored both realty companies to rescind the sale. They both said get a lawyer, we can’t help.

I now have a brand new condo I cannot move into because of the risk it poses to my son.
I have 50% custody of my son. If I were to move in to the condo, my ex-wife would immediately sue for full custody.
I have very little cash reserve because I paid nearly 50% down.
I have to move out of my current temporary residence on May 3. I have nowhere to go.
I have thousands of dollars of furniture and rugs piled up in my living room, purchased specifically for the unit at [removed].
I cannot afford rent because of my new useless mortgage.
I literally don’t know what to do or where to go.

For this I paid $27,000 in commissions?

All of this is due is to a lack of disclosure, and the lack of will to properly investigate my clear and communicated concerns. I was the only person who bid on the condo. I suspect there may be a financial motive for the non-disclosure, as the seller was eager to get out early, and requested early close via his agent.

The only people that can act quickly enough, and that have the necessary resources to fix this, as well as a moral and ethical obligation to do so, are the real estate agencies. And they are ignoring me or dragging their feet.

I am hoping to generate enough public awareness that they will take a more responsible approach for a situation that they have created by their lack of due diligence to discover all possible pertinent disclosures.

I specifically instructed my realtor to ask the sellers agents for access to a locked room in the common access area to determine if it was possibly an “S&M dungeon.” I felt a little silly asking, but also felt I needed to know with certainty that that usage was not the case where my son and I would live for years to come.

Apparently, [my agent] did not communicate my clear concern to the other realtor, or [the selling broker] did nothing about it except ask for the inspection of the room. I have 2 emails from the realtors on this topic. My concerns in this area were clear to my agent, and the conversations on this topic with her were witnessed.

I am willing to forward the pertinent emails for your verification, if you are interested, from the co-owner, [and both brokerages]. You may call me with questions at the number below.

Please help me spread this story far and wide. Public opinion is the only leverage I have at this point to enact a solution, other than litigation, which will take years and thousands of dollars to come to a probable unsatisfactory conclusion.

The responsibility of disclosure is one that these realtors took far too lightly, apparently preferring to deliberately not know, despite my concern, rather than to threaten the sale with the full disclosure that was their legal, moral and ethical responsibility.

I appreciate any help you can offer.

Thank you very much.

Jack”

Glad to be a messenger, but clearly there are some privacy concerns and legal issues I decided to avoid by eliminating address and names, but a little bit of internet digging and you’ll get the unedited version.

Good luck to you Jack!

18 thoughts on “If There Is “S&M” And “Leather Sex” One Unit Below, You Might Want To Let Buyers Know”

  1. How did he know to ask about an s&m dungeon before the sale closed? It’s not the first question that comes to mind if you see a locked room (I’d think storage or something). It doesn’t sound like much information was kept from him.

    My house came with a built in gas grill – worth a couple hundred at most. I forgot to make sure it worked during my inspection, but made sure I was able to verify it worked before I closed. Can’t imagine why this guy didn’t do the same for a more important issue.

    Although I feel for the guy, and I’d be super-pissed if I purchased a condo with a neighbor like that, it seems like he knew more than he’s letting on here or didn’t do enough follow up before he removed contingencies.

    I also wonder why the neighbor let the sale go through without disclosure if he knew in advance that a 10 year old would be moving in or that this could cause serious tension. In a 2-unit building, compatibility is key.

    Perhaps there’s a claim here, but it’s not so cut and dry. And by going public now Jack’s blown what little leverage he has. There’s nothing else can he threaten the realtors with at this point; they know he doesn’t want to sue and the information’s already out there so further disclosure won’t do much to hurt them.

    Crappy situation all around, but this dude’s not making it any better.

  2. I agree with the last comment… Why ask about the “S&M Dungeon” but not dig around for more information about the attached unit? Was the question posed, but not answered honestly?

    The situation is a horrible one… one I would most definitely not want to be in, having young children of my own. Perhaps, Jack can have a diplomatic conversation with the “loud” neighbor and as him to take his S&M business to another location while his son is staying there, at least until he sorts out his options.

  3. this letter has been posted on/submitted to Socketsite, Curbed and the Redfin blog… credibility lost.

  4. You have a clear case agains both agents, their brokers, and the seller(s). This is a clear case of non-disclosure. There was a landmark case back in the 70′s I think. It specifically says that any material facts that may affect the sale of a property must be disclosed to all parties. If full disclosure is with-held by seller and/or agents they will be liable for any damages. Definitely see your attorney.

  5. By the way, you said in your post that the co-owner and the seller had several conversation about the “topic” in question. This represents complete fraud on the seller’s part and if his agent knew of this, he too is commiting fraud.

  6. File a complaint with the state licensing board and the National Association of Realtors. Inform both agencies that you are doing so. Then find a good real estate attorney.

  7. Between a rock and a hard spot indeed. Sounds like a very difficult situation. If it were me, I’d first try to arrange to sit down and have a heart to heart with the ex and explain what happened. Of course, I have no idea what kind of person she is or how she would react. It might be a good idea to also talk to the co-owner. Perhaps the three of you can work a compromise where your son stays with you on days when the co-owner has agreed to no S/M activities and you take the (son’s) room over his S/M bedroom and let your son take your room (or a room furthest away from the offending noise. You and your ex might have to compromise a (temporary) custody solution where you have less time than originally specified in the divorce but if all parties (including your son) are clear this is to be temporary until you can a) settle the case with the agents & seller b) put the condo up for sale and move to another location c) put the condo up for rent and rent a cheaper place until you can sell the condo. The agents and seller motivations and intentions are clear: greed. They got their money (mostly, and questionably, legally). You can sue, yes. But that will take time, money and probably a lot of effort and you have no guarantee of winning the case. In the meantime, you need a place to live, have invested your hard cash, sweat, etc. And you can tell your kid what’s going on. If he’s ten, he probably knows a lot more than you think he does. Be honest and open with your kid. Look at it as a great opportunity to illustrate to him what happens when people try to cheat others (which is what the RE agent and the seller did to you). It sounds like you’ve got a decent neighbor who at least is being honest and open with you. (He could have said nothing and let you discover his unusual proclivities on your own.) It appears he’s making an effort to get along so why not take advantage of that and let the cheaters and liars to the lawyers. From the way you wrote this, it sounds like you had clues that something was awry. But you didn’t really realize the full scope until you got the email from the co-owner two days after closing.

  8. Pt. 2. When we bought our place 7 years ago, the agent and seller disclosed the neighborhood was “robust”. We knew that meant high crime, noise and other problems but were running out of options. We ended up spending four years working with local police, community organizations, etc. Now the noise, drug dealing, abandoned vehicles, blight and other problems have been reduced over 90%. It looked pretty bleak in the beginning but being proactive and with and within the law brought swift, positive results and the up side is we know a lot of our neighbors and have made some good friends in the process. Life gave us some lemons, so we made lemonade! There is always a bright side to every tragedy. Look for it in this situation and I’m sure you’ll come out of it better and stronger on the other side. Best of everything to you!

  9. I don’t agree that the purchaser necessarily had any kind of knowledge ahead of time, re “dungeon”. If I was purchasing a property that included a locked door to which I was not told about or given access to, I would also think that something “alternative” was going on. If it was simply storage, it would have been disclosed earlier and it would have been opened at my request. Maybe your co-owner would be willing to work with you about when he used the space and perhaps some remodeling can be done to limit the noise.

    Even if you do come to a mutual agreement on that score, it would be worth a call to the county real estate board and the corporate office for the realty company. Perhaps if they knew you were having issues with one of the agents that represents them, you might at leas get your commission back if you told them about the lack of disclosure, especially since you specifically asked about that room.

    It also might be worth contacting one of the news stations that deals with consumer issues-7 on Your Side comes to mind-and see if they’d be able to help.

    Good luck!

  10. I agree with the other Kim here. You’re in an especially good position with media because of the fact that it is a titillating subject. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to air it on the news with an especially colorful “teaser” to get plenty of people watching. Even the threat of this kind of publicity might be enough to make the parties involved re-think their reluctance to accomodate your requests

  11. Who asks if a locked room is an S&M Dungeon!! I’m sorry but I don’t believe you, this is ridiculous. You are either fabricating the part about questioning the existance of an S&M dungeon, or you moved into this place knowing there is an S&M dungeon close by because that’s what you’re into and why your lady left you and you’re hoping that your online tirade will convince your ex to allow you to stay there because you “Didn’t know” or you are simply making this entire story up. Either way I don’t trust this story.

  12. The poster above makes an interesting (if slightly paranoid) case against your claim. Perhaps it’s a blend of these factors.
    Even so, i’d say there is a healthy case for a PART (and ONLY a part) of the commission back, based upon “constructive fraud”, i.e. the flow of information exchange withheld from you.

    And come on, it is just really hard to come up with a spontaneous ‘concern’ about an S&M Dungeon, (and how would you even know what that was?) unless you’re somehow interested yourself. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  13. There is no disclosure issue here. First of all, let me agree with some previous posters that the implication that this guy specifically asked about a locked door being an S&M dungeon is absurd. There’s simply no way someone asks that unless they have prior knowledge. That said, sellers are not required to disclose the sexual preferences or activities of their neighbors, PERIOD. It has no relevence on the inhabitability of the home. It would be like requiring a seller to disclose the neighbors downstairs were black, just in case prospective sellers were racist.

  14. My agent did not disclose the HOA fees required just to repaint the INSIDE of the house ($500). He gave us the 32 page list of rules an hour AFTER Escrow closed. We called the escrow place and told them about it. They recomended that we not sign and back out. We were actually able to back out without getting sued. We did however, let Remax know what a crook he is (Greg Greene – Antioch CA). I now do not trust real estate agents. Aunt Josephine is right to fear them…leave Lake Lacrimose Aunt Jo!
    As far as disclosure of what goes on in another home near yours – there are no laws governing this. You take that risk buying a duplex. Hell, you take that risk period. I had no idea my neighbors ran a dog kennel (four dog bark controllers from Amazon later – problem solved). You have to go around the neighborhood on a Saturday night to see what goes on there. Introduce yourself to the neighbors. You’ll find one willing to spill the beans on the others! Then go to the supermarket in the neighborhood. You’ll get a clear pic of the place.

  15. You don’t pay any commissions as a buyer. Honestly it sounds like you have case, as all buyers do, of buyers remorse. They should have told you but if you simply hire an attorney to write a letter to both brokerages, you’ll get that settlement you’re looking for. But it’s not really about that, you just have buyers remorse. I know you don’t think so but it happens and is normal.

  16. Oh I am sorry, but this is a CLEAR non disclosure lawsuit, and if you take it to arbitration, you will totally win. The issue is, what can you collect?

    I myself was in litigation for such a non disclosure situation, and in another totally separate situation, my neighbors in SF were also in such a situation and I was a star witness. Not SM issues, mind you, but totally loud obnoxious neighbor party noise issues. They won.

    The point is, can you collect on your winnings? My neighbors won $200,000 in their case and collected through their seller’s home owners insurance. Home owners insurance covers liability in such cases. I won $350,000 in my case, and never saw a dime, because my sellers were thugs and deadbeat millionaires who had no insurance and later declared bankruptcy.

  17. One more point: Any poster here who says you don’t have a case… they have never spoken to a lawyer. Any lawyer would take this case. Disclosure is a holy issue, and every realtor knows that. Loud noise, whether is be SM or NFL or drinking or whatever, is an issue.

    And legal fees are paid for by the prevailing party in these lawsuits. Talk to a lawyer asap, and skip the begging and pleading with the realtors. They have errors and omissions insurance, the sellers have home owners insurance, maybe even you have insurance. These cases are almost always settled by insurance companies. Take the personalities out of it.

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