Termites found after buying - What to do?

Asked by Alex, Palo Alto, CA Sun Aug 17, 2008

I just bought a condo. There were two termite inspections done on the property before closing: one by the seller in June, and another by myself after making the offer. Both were done by licensed inspectors, and both came back without any red flags.

The day after I got the keys to the condo, I started taking away a bookcase attached to the wall, and found a live termite infestation. The bookcase was definitely eaten away by the termites, and I'm not sure if there is any other damage to the property. (I'll be getting a few inspectors there shortly.)

My question is: What can I do? I have literally spent only a few hours at this condo, and already found this huge termite problem. So clearly, there is some gross negligence on the part of the inspectors -- I can't imagine how one can argue that it is not obvious.

I don't know, and don't know if I can prove, that the seller knew about this and intentionally failed to disclose it.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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John Hickey, Agent, La Crescenta, CA
Sun Aug 17, 2008
Hi Alex,

There are several things to consider.

First - call the termite inspector. During your conversation have the report in front of you so that you can discuss it with the inspector who went to the property. It's very likely that the inspector will want to come back out to the property to see what you are talking about.

Second - Check with your condo's association. The association is responsible for maintenance of the common areas of the complex. The transistion from the homeowner's responsibility to the association's responsibility is in some cases a gray area. It may turn out to be something the association is responsible for.

Third - Discuss all of the above with your agent.

Fourth - Once you understand the situation as well as possible it seems to me that either the association or the termite company that issued a clear report is responsible. Once you have got a handle on it insist that the responsible party take care of it.

Finally, please remember that the termite company is responsible for inspecting accessible areas. It may be that the area behind the bookcase was an inaccesible area.

Good luck,

John Hickey
Dilbeck Realtors, GMAC
2 votes
David Tapper, Agent, Burlingame, CA
Thu Oct 2, 2008
Let the termitie companies know that if they do not take care of the problem, you will take them to small claims court, but more importantly report them to the pest board. Google the board that licenses them or email me and I will get the info for you.

Good luck,

Dave Tapper
Web Reference:  http://Teamtapper.com
0 votes
David, , La Jolla, CA
Sun Aug 17, 2008
the termite reports came back with Section 1 and 2 with no termite? Contact your agent.
0 votes
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