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Subject: Termite who is responsible for structural damage
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AngelA2
(Florida)

Posts:4


11/22/2019 3:01 AM  
We just Bought a town home in Deerfield Fl. while renovating the bathroom we found extensive termite damage to structural damage. We have an end unit that is wood frame attached to five other units. My question who is responsible for the repairs and to what point. HOA dose not want to address the issue. This is and exterior wall that needs to be replaced with all support studs. Is this something We should seek legal help with and are there any recommendations on who to hire.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8768


11/22/2019 4:12 AM  
So why does this escalate to legal help? Can it not be discussed with your homeowner insurance? It is an insurance claim. Did the house have a termite bond and/or inspected when you purchased? If so, it could be something the former owner may need to be involved in.

My house 3 months after I bought, my newly adopted beagle mix ripped a hole in my siding. Turns out that Beagles are known for being used for finding those critters. Found out from the previous owners that spot had been treated in the past for termites. Even though I had a termite inspection done and still had the termite bond/treatment, they still there.

So I would find out what termite bond does for you and if you had one at purchase. I'd purchase one ASAP after all of this. It is worth it. I'd also consult the HOA without contacting a lawyer. Plus READ the CC&R's to see who is responsible for the repairs of such a wall.

Former HOA President
AngelA2
(Florida)

Posts:4


11/22/2019 4:39 AM  
No inspection was done and there was no sign of any damage as the problem was coming form outside behind the drywall and when we removed drywall found damage there was no sign of live termites this had been going on for years from the looks of the damage. My problem is the damage that was caused involves knocking down and replacing the exterior walls feel that an HOA matter and it's a big expense aren't they responsible for the exterior of the units?
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:202


11/22/2019 4:42 AM  
Read your HOA docs they should tell you if the HOA is responsible.
AngelA2
(Florida)

Posts:4


11/22/2019 5:26 AM  
Going over HOA docs and at a lose on where it would be. found something that reads "The association shall maintain the exterior walls and roofs of all buildings except where such maintenance is required by the negligence or willful acts of any owners" keep in mind we just bought this unit end of Aug
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3921


11/22/2019 6:34 AM  
Posted By AngelA2 on 11/22/2019 5:26 AM
Going over HOA docs and at a lose on where it would be. found something that reads "The association shall maintain the exterior walls and roofs of all buildings except where such maintenance is required by the negligence or willful acts of any owners" keep in mind we just bought this unit end of Aug


Let's assume that the prior owner was negligent. Are you saying that the HOA and not you should become responsible for the prior owner's negligence. Why should the HOA be responsible for any owner's negligence?

You have a few things working against you -
1. You don't know what the prior owner did or didn't do.
2. You didn't do an inspection.
3. You'll need to overcome the old standard - Caveat emptor - Buyer beware.

Maybe it's time to decide if it's worth pursuing an insurance claim, trying to get the HOA to pick up some of the cost, etc.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1531


11/22/2019 6:45 AM  
Wow ... no termite inspection in Florida?
AngelA2
(Florida)

Posts:4


11/22/2019 7:14 AM  
I believe Previous owner had no idea as this was going on inside the walls. he was a sick older gentleman damage come from outside into walls not from anything that was done from inside. I don't mind if I Have to the repairs cause I didn't inspect the fact that outside walls have to come down I don't want to be responsible for that.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:202


11/22/2019 7:26 AM  
Posted By AngelA2 on 11/22/2019 5:26 AM
Going over HOA docs and at a lose on where it would be. found something that reads "The association shall maintain the exterior walls and roofs of all buildings except where such maintenance is required by the negligence or willful acts of any owners" keep in mind we just bought this unit end of Aug




I agree that you would be responsible for the issue before you bought the place if it was caused by negligence. However, since the HOA was and is responsible for maintaining exterior walls it was their responsibility so it is unlikely it was a negligence issue. Therefore based on what you wrote I would send them a letter demanding they fix the problem and why it is their responsibility. In our docs there is a section that describes our units and we are basically responsible for the drywalls in but we are condos. When we had termite inspections done in PA they excluded problems that were hidden or could not be seen. I don't know how they do it in Florida.
AugustinD


Posts:2096


11/22/2019 8:00 AM  
Posted By AngelA2 on 11/22/2019 4:39 AM
My problem is the damage that was caused involves knocking down and replacing the exterior walls feel that an HOA matter and it's a big expense aren't they responsible for the exterior of the units?


This Florida law firm specializes in 'termite law' and offers a free consultation:

http://www.cardillolaw.com/consumer-resources/faqs/

Note how it says the seller of a newly purchased home is responsible for the repairs.

Have you talked with your insurer?
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3921


11/22/2019 8:13 AM  
Posted By SamE2 on 11/22/2019 7:26 AM
In our docs there is a section that describes our units and we are basically responsible for the drywalls in but we are condos.


That's typical for condos. But have you ever looked at how many lawsuits there are where an owner (only responsible for drywalls in) tries to get the Association (responsible for the exterior envelope) to cover something in between? Mold and water issues are most common, but I'm sure that infestation disputes turn into lawsuits.

Also, we're not talking about a Condo. The CC&R language for non-Condos is typically a lot looser. HOA statutes are also looser than Condo statutes.

I agree that sending a demand letter might yield results. But ultimately, the HOA isn't going to just cut a check.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:202


11/22/2019 9:31 AM  
Based on what she quoted from her condo docs the Association is responsible for the exterior wall. Unless there is something in the docs I believe they are on the hook. Understand in some HOAs it would not be their responsibility but what she posted the HOA has responsibility for the exterior walls. Does insurance cover termite damage in Florida?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1531


11/22/2019 10:01 AM  
Summary:
1. Someone buys a Florida townhouse without a termite inspection
2. New owner finds old termite damage in an area that may be the responsibility of the association.
3. Association says not our responsibility

My first question, after slapping myself in the head, would be, “Jeez, why didn’t I get a termite inspection.”

My second question would be answered by a review of the docs and a formal question, with documentation from a termite company, re who is responsible.
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:304


11/22/2019 11:09 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/22/2019 8:00 AM
Posted By AngelA2 on 11/22/2019 4:39 AM
My problem is the damage that was caused involves knocking down and replacing the exterior walls feel that an HOA matter and it's a big expense aren't they responsible for the exterior of the units?


This Florida law firm specializes in 'termite law' and offers a free consultation:

http://www.cardillolaw.com/consumer-resources/faqs/

Note how it says the seller of a newly purchased home is responsible for the repairs.

Have you talked with your insurer?



This is from the same law firm.

What steps should our condominium board take if they suspect a problem?
Under Florida law condominium board members have a fiduciary duty to the members of the condominium association. That fiduciary duty extends to protecting the property from termite infestation and damage. If termite damage is suspected it is extremely important that the authorized board member contact our firm to understand your rights.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8768


11/22/2019 3:24 PM  
Part of me wants to give some "tough love" advice here. That of course includes that not doing a termite inspection was a bad idea. It's obvious the HOA isn't doing it. Most likely not their responsibility necessarily. So how would they know about damages to maintain if they aren't required to conduct inspections? Most of the time termite inspections are done at closings which they are not involved in.

It does sound like it can be considered "negligence" by the prior owner. They did not seem to keep up a termite care. We have another poster here that doesn't want to let the pest company inside to do their work... Now you can see what can happen if an owner doesn't allow proper pest care to be done by the HOA if it is offered.

You need to find out if the HOA is even responsible for pest control. It may be an owner thing. Which then if it is, this termite issue is caused by negligence.

Again, contact your homeowner's insurance to ask. I would say the former owner. It just may be impossible to get them to be involved at this point. I wouldn't count on the HOA paying for the repairs nor doing it in a timely manner. So think of a plan B. Which is most likely a claim on your insurance. Next time DO a termite inspection and sign up for pest care NOW!

Former HOA President
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:1531


11/22/2019 4:19 PM  
To my knowledge, unless it is a requirement in the governing docs, there is no negligence - it is simply a matter of someone not testing.

Given the statement the damage is present, but no live termites, could mean termites had been found earlier and the area treated.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8911


11/22/2019 4:26 PM  
Angel no one that feels they are not libel wants to contact their own insurance company as they fear a rate increase. That said, like it or not, that is where to start or hire your own attorney to go after others.
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:202


11/23/2019 4:38 AM  
Does homeowners insurance cover damages that happened over time and were existing before they started insuring the property? I always thought homeowners insurance was for something that happened immediately like a fire or a bathtub over filling. Also I did not know you could collect on damage that occurred before the insurance was in place.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3921


11/23/2019 7:51 AM  
Below paragraph is from a pest management website in FL. Not sure if it's accurate, but it does say that FL requires an inspection on purchase:

Florida is a great place for termites to flourish, so it is important to perform a termite inspection regularly. A termite inspection, or as it called by the State of Florida, Termite and Other Wood Destroying Organism Report (WDO Report), is required and strongly recommended when purchasing a home. To provide a termite inspection, the inspector must have an ID card issued from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). A unit of the Florida DACS is the Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control. The Bureau’s Pest Control Section regulates the activities and issues licenses to the pest management industry. Their authority is given through the Structural Pest Control Act, Chapter 482, Chapter 5E-14, Florida Administrative Code and Florida Statutes and the Associated Rules of the Department. Termite inspection ID cards are issued to State Certified Operators that are licensed in the category of Termite and Other Wood Destroying Organisms, or licensed applicators / inspectors working under the State Certified Operators direction. These licensed applicators / inspectors must have additional training and sign an affidavit stating as much. Card holders are allowed to perform WDO inspections in Florida. Reynolds Pest Management, Inc. is properly licensed to perform a termite inspection in Florida (WDO reports).

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
AugustinD


Posts:2096


11/23/2019 9:12 AM  
NpS, I am thinking this is a sales pitch and that an inspection is not required for a sale. To continue becoming educated on the issue, the OP should maybe peruse this Florida agency site and this Florida statute:

https://www.fdacs.gov/content/download/3138/file/p00105_consumeraidtermitewdo_0910.pdf

and

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0482/0482.html
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3921


11/23/2019 11:36 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 11/23/2019 9:12 AM
NpS, I am thinking this is a sales pitch and that an inspection is not required for a sale. To continue becoming educated on the issue, the OP should maybe peruse this Florida agency site and this Florida statute:

https://www.fdacs.gov/content/download/3138/file/p00105_consumeraidtermitewdo_0910.pdf

and

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0482/0482.html


Agree.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8911


11/23/2019 11:55 AM  
Never ever buy a house without an inspection including termite inspection, especially in the south.
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