In comedy, as in anything else, it is extremely important to know your audience. What one person might laugh off as a joke, another might take very seriously. That is what happened to the K-W Labour Association in Kitchener.
Several years ago, they sold a building. The realtor, in returning an accepted offer much lower than the assessed value, told the buyer that they were accepting it at a lower price because it was only partially leased. He then joked that it was also because of all the ghosts in the building, and that there were rumours that Jimmy Hoffa was buried there, given that it was an old union building. The buyer was not amused, and after closing, sued the seller for $1 million.
In dismissing the case, the judge confirmed that, if the buyer was truly concerned about hauntings, then he should have written that right into the contract. Given that he didn’t, and that there was no actual evidence that anyone had ever complained about hauntings, he had no right to claim there was a haunting later on.
If you are particularly sensitive to psychological issues, put those concerns in writing and make the seller warrant that there have been no deaths, hauntings, etc. in the house. And if you are a seller, don’t make jokes about ghosts unless you know the buyer very well.