What is the definition of a “Jiko Bukken” property? Guidelines for Disclosure of a Death that Occurred in a House

Poste date: Tuesday, December 7, 2021


What is the definition of a “Jiko Bukken” property?

You may have heard before, but often do not know well.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has recently released “Guidelines for Disclosure of a Death that Occurred in a House by a Real Estate Broker”.
These guidelines are mainly written about the obligations that a real estate broker must fulfill, but we recommend that you read it carefully because the contents are based on the understanding and cooperation of a seller and lessor.

*Please read through as the guidelines are only for residential real estate, so the cases that have occurred in commercial real estate are not applicable.

1. Purpose of the Announcement of the Guidelines

When an incident that is disliked by everybody occurred in the property or around the property in the past, it is judged in real estate transactions that the property has a psychological defect. It is necessary for a seller and lessor to notify a buyer and tenant through a real estate broker of these facts (defects) that the seller and lessor know.

Especially concerning the facts related to human death in particular, such as murder, suicide, and death by accident, which have a significant impact on the decision to conclude a purchase or lease agreement, it is desirable for a seller and lessor to accurately notify a buyer and tenant.

However frequent questions come up, such as “How long should you go back to the fact in the past about the property to notify?” or “What kind of the incident does fall under a Jiko Bukken property?” Because the answers to such questions were not clear, general criteria will be compiled from the viewpoint of preventing troubles.

Giving clear definition to Jiko Bukken properties is thought that elderly people who were shunned for fear of risk will be accepted more easily, and it is expected to be one of the social contributions.

 

2. What are the Guidelines?

Cases where notification is required

  • Suicide or murder

  • Natural death and death from an unforeseen accident, but when generation of odor or pest insect outbreak was confirmed inside and outside the property due to being left unattended for a long period of time, and special cleaning or large-scale renovation was carried out for this cause. 
    *In the case of lease transactions and when about 3 years have passed after a special cleaning or a large-scale renovation was carried out, notification and disclosure of such a death shall not be required. (In the case of sales transactions, a specific period of time is not prescribed at present.)

  • Serious cases, well-known cases, the cases with particularly high impact on society.

  • The cases that occurred in the common areas of an apartment (it is considered to be applicable to the spaces of an apartment which buyers or tenants use in their daily lives such as the shared entrance, elevators, hallways, and stairs, in addition to the spaces for exclusive use such as balconies).



Cases where notification is not required

  • Natural death (Death from old age or from an illness due to a chronic disease)

  • Death from an unforeseen accident that occurred in daily life, such as fall from the stairs of one’s own home, drowning while taking a bath, falling accident, or aspiration of food during meals.
  • The cases that are occurred in the neighboring houses or in the shared spaces of the apartment building that the buyer or the tenant of the real estate does not normally use in daily life.  Provided, however, that it does not include serious cases, well-known cases, and the cases with particularly high impact on society.


What to be notified?

A real estate broker who is aware of the case to be notified shall notify the buyer or the tenant about when the case occurred (if a special cleaning, etc. was carried out, notify when the case was identified), where the case occurred, and what is the cause of the death (if it is unknown, notify that effect), or if a special cleaning, etc. was carried out, shall notify that effect.

How long notification is required?

(Rental property) For about 3 years from the occurrence of the incident, it is necessary to notify a tenant. 
    *Provided, however, that it does not apply to serious cases, well-known cases, the cases with particularly high impact on society.

(Property for sale) Regardless of the period after the occurrence of the incident, a seller or a real estate broker is required to notify a buyer.

About Examination for notification

Real estate brokers are required to collect information about the property and the surrounding area of the property during their sales or intermediary activities. When the brokers are informed of or come to know the matter that can be a problem in their examination process, they will notify a buyer or a tenant of such matter.

To conduct an investigation on the seller and lessor and his/her property and clarify that the existence of possible (suspected) psychological defect has been confirmed, it is desirable to collect information by using a document such as a notice (property status report), etc., and it is thought that it will further prevent any troubles.

(In the case that the seller or lessor does not provide information intentionally when creating a notice, etc., the seller or lessor may bear civil liabilities.)

 Other considerations

  • When a buyer or tenant has asked a question specifically about a case that occurred in the past or if it is the case that should be specially disclosed in consideration of the magnitude of its social impact, information should be collected using the method as stated above.  If there is no answer from a seller, lessee, or a management company, or if there is an answer that is unknown, it is said that such results should be notified to a buyer or tenant. In principle, real estate brokers are not obligated to conduct voluntary surveys, such as interviewing neighboring residents or investigating on internet sites. If such investigations are conducted, careful procedures and handlings are required in consideration of the honor of those who died and their bereaved families spending a life of peace.

  • As it is necessary to consider the privacy of the parties concerned, it is not necessary to disclose the individual’s name, age, address, family structure, etc. upon notification.

 

Please understand that these guidelines are based on the criteria that are considered appropriate at this time, so these may be reviewed as appropriate in response to changes in social conditions and people’s consciousness.

In addition, please note that about the handling of land transaction when the building in which human death occurred is demolished, the case when someone died at the hospital to which he/she was transported, and the starting time of the fall in the case of death due to a fall, it is not subject to the guideline at this time due to the lack of judicial precedents and real estate transactions.

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