Home Buying in 90066>Question Details

Wei-min Chang, Home Buyer in 90034

The seller is responsible for the termite fumigation, but who is responsible for the landscape or roof damage caused by the fumigation process? Thanks

Asked by Wei-min Chang, 90034 Tue Aug 24, 2010

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Suzanne Glaser’s answer
If you're a buyer asking this question, then the seller is required to transfer the property in the same condition it was in when you went under contract. If there is any damage caused by the fumigation tent or any other "new" damage that occurs on the property, the seller is responsible to repair it for the buyer, unless otherwise agreed.

If you're a seller, it would be up to you to contact the fumigation company to see if they will make the repairs. Be sure to read the language in the fumigation contract for clarification of limits on the company's responsibility.

Good luck!
Suzanne Glaser
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
Due to the fact that the treatment is being done by the seller, they would be responsible for any damage caused by the treatment during the process. Typically, any roof damage would fall under their homeowners insurance as the new buyer had not transferred the home to their policy until the day of closing. I would recommend having a roof inspection before closing to make sure there was no damage.

If, for some reason, there was early occupancy or treatment was delayed until after closing, I would ask my agent to ensure there is adequate language to support the contingency of roof damage in the addendum.
Web Reference: http://www.oahureale.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 19, 2010
Ifthe fumigation truly caused the damage...the seller can ask the termite company to pay for or repair the damages.

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 12, 2013
I just had my house tented for termites with one of the large Pest Control companies. Homeowners are required to sign a "hold-harmless" clause which releases the company from damage caused during the fumigation. Specifically homes with the Spanish Tiled rooves are mentioned since they are easy to break when stepped on while covering the house with tarp. As for the landscape, if the damage is not too extreme then try to put things into perspective: live termites OR a perfect yard ;-) The seller probably was trying to do the right thing before selling the home.

IMO, your Realtor should already be taking care of this situation for you. Have your Realtor obtain a copy of the paperwork. Also, since the house is no longer in the same condidtion as when you originally signed the contract, you should be able to negotiate repairs/concessions/allowance etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 18, 2010
Sounds like the roof damage would depend on the reason the roof was damaged in the first place.

If there was existing decay that led the termite company to step somewhere that incurred the damage it sounds like it would not be the termite company's fault but more like a hazardous area in which they were working. If there was no decay and a shingle was knocked loose or something to that effect perhaps it was the companies fault but without knowing what happened it is hard to answer accurately.

As far as landscape damage, were some plants stepped on during the fumigation process? Were the plants hindering the termite company from accurately and effectively fumigating the home? Was harming the landscape unavoidable in order the termite company to do their job?

My advice would be talk to the termite company and tell them what occured and read the contract that you signed, there may be a disclaimer there somewhere that says XYZ company not liable for ...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 15, 2010
Most likely the fumigation company is liable, as long as it was damage they caused and not an older roof that was in need of repair or replacement already. Did you get a home warrantee? This maybe covered if they added roof coverage, however many times this may be considered preexisting conditions. This would make the coverage null and void, did you have a home inspection before you purchased the property? They usually do a basic analysis of the roof. Check with your agent to see if the seller filled out the TDS or SPQ "Transfer disclosure statement " and "Seller Property Questionnaire" to make sure they didn't list items that needed repair and they were overlooked.

Next, the landscaping. Was it damaged when the termite was done or was it removed? If it was removed by the seller, they must replace it. The property is to transfer to the buyer in the condition it was marketed, unless the seller had included in the listing that they would be taking the landscaping and it should have been noted in the mls and definitely the disclosures. If the landscaping was damaged during the termite work being done, then they would be responsible.

I would first recommend speaking with your agent and possibly there manager & broker to resolve these issues. If it can't be resolved this way, I would recommend consult the advice of an attorney.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 13, 2010
First of all I would read the contract that your fumigation company provided to determine if they are responsible for damage caused by the process--if so, then they are the ones who needs to correct it. If not spelled out, I still can't imagine that they wouldn't be responsible UNLESS, of course, the contract stated that the process may cause damage to the roof and landscaping for which they wouldn't be responsible. If that is the case then the damage is an item that would have to be negotiated to determine which party should pay.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 27, 2010
Roof damage would have to be repaired by the fumigation company- as long as it could be attributed to them and not to existing decay. the dead landscaping will have to grow back in. That is the unfortunate consequence of tenting the home to kill termites. All of this asumes seller responsibility under the repair clause of the executed contract. Buyer may wish instead to treat after closing and maybe select a treatment program that does not involve tenting.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 27, 2010
You say the damage was from the Process, that suggests that the materials damaged were not damaged from the Fumigation, but rather that was the last that they could stand up to and were ready to be repaired anyway. As for who is responsible for that? That is the question of the hour, if there was damage from the Fumigation company, they need to repair, if the damage was from the termites or other pests long term or from worn out materials, then that is something to be negotiated in the sale.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 26, 2010
I think everything is negotiable of course! I think it depends on what type of damage that takes place... was it to the fault of the fumigation company? Then they should correct it!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 26, 2010
If you are the buyer and the termite company suggest fumigation, then you have choices to make.
First choice is do you even want to proceed with the purchase?
Second choice is if you want to proceed then who will pay for this treatment?
As far as any damgage caused by the process, this could be your biggest problem. Assuming there was any damage the seller and the company that did the fumigation would be responsible. That leaves a big what if.
Web Reference: http://www.fhaloanagent.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 26, 2010
Where does it say that anyone is responsible for such things as infestation, or in this case, fumigation to rid the house of the vermin? This isn't a rhetorical question, it is a statement of "fact". Unless you have a purchase contract where the parties agreed to the cause and effect when the "deal" was made, the seller might not be responsible for such things as termite fumigation, roof repair, or any other situations that develop throughout the transactions development. Be careful in assuming that the opposite of that is true. If you have it in writing and the seller agrees without change or modification, the idea that someone will pay for something is purely by those standards and not by default. On the matter of possible damages, this too is something you need to address by contract terms, and if a third party occasioned damages, typically they have insurance for accidental issues like this. Remember, if it isn't in writing, it probably isn't someone's responsibility (automatically), until and unless it is brought up. However, don't wait for the outcome to create an issue, handle it before by putting it in writing.

J. Mario Preza
dre 00668667
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 25, 2010
Fumigation company should be responsible for damages if they are the one who damage the roof or landscape.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 23, 2010
It lands on the seller but anything can be negotiated.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
Dear Wei-min,
If the fumigation company damaged the property you are purchasing, the responsibility rests with them, to repair or replace anything damaged in the process. I once had an alarm company who installed an alarm and damaged wood frame windows and drywall . They had to come out and take care of what their installers had done. Thank goodness I had pictures because the owner had just had the interior painted. They took care of everything for us. I hope you have the same experience.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
This is a good question. I have had similar problems when it comes to septic and drain fields being replace and yards getting ripped up. Generally speaking I always write an addendum for my buyers addressing this issue. So I would say it is a negotiable issue. You should talk with your buyers agent and see what the customary practice is in you area.

I hope this information helps! Best Wishes!
Web Reference: http://www.GoMelinda.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
In a word: the Seller! The seller is supposed to transfer the property you are buying to you in the same condition as when you made the offer. Sometimes better condition is you asked for any repairs. If you have a real estate agent helping you, they should be standing up to the seller or sellers agent and demanding that all of these repairs be done, that is what a good realtor is supposed to do for you is negotiate on your behalf. Generally the seller and sellers agent can make the fumigation company do the repairs as they caused the damage while doing the fumigation. Good luck and I would speak with your realtor.

Have a good day,
Heather Paul
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
Most termite companies will have a disclaimer in their inspection report stating they are NOT responsible for possible roof or landscape damage. The buyer should call the termite compoany to discuss other possible treatment methods they offer that may minimize the risk of such damage occuring, and their effectiveness and the warranty offered with all their work.

Michael Tunick
Prudential CA Realty - Los Angeles
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
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