What can we do regarding a fraudulant termite inspection and report?

We bought a home in Lakewood, CA from a flipper who had bought it at auction, cleaned it up, and made some upgrades (new windows, new kitchen countertops, etc). We did the home inspection and discovered termite droppings in the garage and had it noted. When we were signing the purchase/loan documents, there was a termite inspection report (which was commissioned by the seller) which indicated that a termite inspection was done and a treatment was completed by a licensed contractor, but it did not indicate any treatments done in the garage. After moving in (late March) and getting squared away in our new home, my wife noticed termite droppings in the garage (early May). As such, we attempted to contact the company that did the termite inspection and service numerous times via phone, email, website to no avail. We contacted our realtor and informed them of this issue, but did not get any real help from them. We continued to see termite droppings and continued to attempt to contact the termite company to no avail until late June, when we registered a complaint with the State Structural Pest Control Board and provided them all of the information that we had regarding the company.

A week after registered our complaint with the State Structural Pest Control Board, I had received a frantic phone call from someone who claimed to own the company that we had registered the complaint against and was eager to resolve the situation as his company was in good standing and he indicated that he had never done any type of termite service in our area nor at our property. It turns out that the "company" that did the termite "inspection" and "treatment" was a fraud and had fraudulently used another company's license number. The owner of the real company had evidently knew the guy and had worked with him before in a different company, but when the owner of the real company was approached by the guy that did our "inspection and treatment", he declined to work with him again. The fraud had used the real company's license number and tried to pass off his company as the real one.

Since this discovery, months have passed by, the Investigator from the State Structural Pest Control Board completed his report with the following violations:

1. Failed to report evidence of subterranean termite infestations, drywood termite infestations and fungus infections.

Violation: 8516(b) (7) Business and Professions Code

1990(a) (3) California Code of regulations

2. Failed to report evidence of excessive moisture conditions, cellulose debris and inadequate ventilation.

Violation: 8516(b) (7) Business and Professions Code

1990(b) (3) (5) California Code of regulations

3. Failed to report dryrot wood members and termite damaged wood members.

Violation: 8516(b) (7) Business and Professions Code

1990(a) (4) California Code of regulations

The Investigator informed us we should get some quotes to address the real termite issues in our home, which unfortunately were more numerous that previously thought after various LEGIT companies provided us with quotes. Unfortunately, our realtor has not been of any real assistance in our attempts to resolve this matter and when we contacted the seller, he had indicated that since he thought he had contracted with a legit company, he was duped as well, and as such, does not bear any personal responsibility in our attempt to resolve this. This unfortunately does not hold water as in Sept, a gentleman who claimed to have been the previous owner (which was confirmed by the neighbors) who lost his home to auction came by as he wished to discuss with us the good and bad of the house. One of the things he had indicated was that the house did indeed have a massive termite infestation throughout the whole house (which was confirmed by quotes provided by the legitimate termite companies) and that he had informed the flipper from whom we had bought the house. This leads us to believe that as the flipper knew of the termite issues from the previous owner and had purposely sought out someone who would provide a cheap service, but have no proof to back up this claim. We also believe this to be true as the flipper should have noticed the termite issues when upgrading the home, but again, have no real proof.

Today, we stand 10 months after purchasing our home with no resolution at hand nor in the foreseeable future as our realtor has not been of any real help, the seller is claiming he was duped too and that it is our responsibility, the fraudulent termite inspector cannot be contacted, and the owner of the real company states that he too is a victim of fraud as his license number was used without his permission.

As for resolution, all that we want is for the house to have a proper termite treatment but no one is stepping up to help. Any advice? What can we do? Is there anything that can be done? Or are we up a creek without a paddle?

8 Answers

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  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    At this point in time, how much damage due to termites do you have? If you have little or nor damage sue all parties in small claims court to repair, re-treat or re-tent your house. In California you can sue up to $10,000 in small claims court.

    If you have more than $15,000 contact a real estate attorney immediately. You will probably end up suing all parties involved, the seller, both real estate companies, both termite companies and the home inspector.

    Who hired the fraudulent termite inspector? If the sellers agent did, that agent is also liable.

    Did you discuss with your agent finding termite dropping during the inspection? If so, what advise did your agent give? To check it further or that it is OK. If she advised to to check it out further he/she did their job. If he told you to don't worry about it your agent is also legally responsible.

  • 4 years ago

    A termite inspection is required by all lenders who would be able to give you a mortgage, so if there are termites, you should have access to the report to find out how severe the problem is. Depending on where you live, how old the house is, and other elements play into this situation. Some areas are just infested and will always have problems. If the traps have been in place for 6 months, I think that is a problem. CALL YOUR LOCAL EXTERMINATORS and ask them about the specifics. In the area in which I live they spray, not leave "traps". Hence, I believe it to be a bad thing that the traps are there still and have been for 6 months. Also ask the Realtor, they will know who did the inspection and should be able to get you a copy of the report.

  • 7 years ago

    There's some really good legal advice here and you did well to find the Structural Pest Board. It would seem that you have a case to recover costs and should consider who to join in the action that can likely be made to pay. The realtor and previous owner look to be good targets in that regard and the fraudster less so (but may be wealthier than you think).

    To control the drywood termites, as per the U Cal advice on the Structural Pest Board's site, a fumigation is the best choice. That won't stop subterranean termites. It would likely help to have a full condition report detailing which termites are where. The company who responded to your complaint are probably going to offer you great service here. Try to get an inspection using measuring devices such as a Termtrac and thermal imaging camera. You want a clear, simple report (that even a judge can follow without falling asleep). To kill of the subterraneans, which tend to come to your house via the ground, a baiting system, skilled termiticide dusting program or (sometimes) remedial non-repellent soil chemical application is likely to be advised.

    Good luck

    Source(s): Termite help: http://drdons.net
  • 7 years ago

    Falsi is correct - all of SoCal is full of termites. Even new houses have termites before the sale closes. There is probably not one single house in the area without at least some termite damage.

    If you want the termite damage repaired, you are going to have to pay for the repairs yourself.

    There is a whole bunch of fraud going on... so if you want someone else to ultimately reimburse your costs, you are going to have to start suing. You need to talk to an attorney, this is the way I think it is going to happen:

    - you have to sue the company that you have the license for first. I know they were frauded too but they have to prove that to a court because right now they are the contractor you have.

    - then you go after the seller that flipped the house to you.

    And I see it stopping there - you don't need to sue the false company because you have no relationship to them, your relationship is to the seller who was suppose to make sure this was down. If they were frauded THEY need to sue the false company. I don't see the Seller Realtor/Broker being responsible = they make sure these things get done, they don't babysit who did it.

    The likelihood you are going to get any money is slim.

    Source(s): Homeowner in Long Beach with termites... My termite guy says I don't have that many because the house is so old the wood is too tough for the termites now.
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  • 7 years ago

    What regards to termites, you already contacted the Board. As to the rest, you are asking for legal advice, and might consider contacting an attorney or just file a small claims lawsuit if damages are less than $10K.

  • 7 years ago

    Did the "flipper" order the termite letter? If so, that's who you sue. Whoever actually called the fraud company is responsible. Get an attorney- also get it treated, they multiply quickly.

    Source(s): 27 years mortgage lender.
  • 7 years ago

    You may have to file suit against the listing agent and his/her broker. Long Beach/Lakewood area has lots of old wooden structures ripe for hungry termites.

    Just spend the $1000 - $2000 to get your house tented and fumigated.

    Good luck!

  • 3 years ago

    1

    Source(s): Woodworking Tips and Tricks http://WoodworkingProjects.enle.info/?k1j6
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