Is the home inspector or seller liable?

Old 05-04-05, 05:02 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Unhappy Is the home inspector or seller liable?

Hi - we have purchased a new home (built in 1991) and moved in last month. Recent sightings of ants and a swarm of termites caused us to call an exterminator. The exterminator found a number of pieces of wood (from the deck) under the deck. There was noticeable damage, and evidence of termites in this wood. Shouldn't the home inspector (who indicated no evidence of wood boring insects) have seen this wood and identified the damage as being the result of insect activity? The area under the deck is not contained by lattice - we reached under and pulled out the wood.
The sellers disclosed no termites either. What's the story - do we have any recourse??
Old 05-05-05, 12:01 AM
majakdragon's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: N.E. Arkansas
Posts: 7,475
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Putting me back on my pedestal about Home Inspectors again. MOST are only liable for the amount of their charge to do the home inspection. If you can PROVE the previous owner knew, or should have known about the termites you may have a case. Check with the Realtor and your papers from the sale of the home to see what you have in writing. Good luck.
Old 05-06-05, 02:18 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,047
Upvotes: 0
Received 2 Upvotes on 2 Posts
Inspections tend to be based on visible damage or penetration at the time of inspection. If not visible, then you have no case.
Old 05-15-05, 10:27 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
thank you - lesson learned and next time we buy a house I'll know what to look for.
Old 05-22-05, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Bucks Co.
Posts: 175
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Down here in Pennsylvania you have to get a termite inspection done before you buy the house, don't they do that up there? You may want to see if you had it done. I would think as stick as they are up there, you probable had to have it done.

But I think I asked the same question here about 2 years ago. I bought a house 2 years ago and had all the inspections done. About 3 months after living in the house boy I had really bad termites ripping my house up.

But the thing with me, was the last owner get slick and put a ceiling up in the unfinished basement to cover all the damage done by the termites. At the time I was really mad that the last owner knew about it and didn't say anything to me. I knew where he worked at and went to see him, he said he knew nothing about termites in that house. But I had him, see before he put the ceiling up he added sister boards to the ceiling joist and with the luck of god the new boards he added where dated on the tags that he forgot to take off

I ended up going back to him with this info, but it didn't help. So I seen a lawyer a week later he came to the house handed me 3k and paid to have the termite guy come out and do his thing.

I ended up fixing the problem my self. I noticed all the damage was done in one area of the house so I dig all the dirt away from the house in that area , got about 1 1/2 feet down , there was 2 bricks totally missing. I replaced the bricks and I never seen the termites again. Thank god because thay are a mean bug, I feel bad for anyone with them.
Old 05-26-05, 01:38 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
My father started doing home inspections about 10 years ago so I've learned more than I ever wanted to know.
#1 Just like anyone you are going to give your money to (mechanic, doctor, computer repair person) ask the inspector about his qualifications. Some are just idiots that took a weekend course and paid someone else for "forms" to do the work on. A good home inspector will have been a contractor of some kind for several years of his/her life. Never use an inspector that the "seller" recommends or paid for. 60 minutes did an undercover on one of these crooks. As stated above the inspector, good or bad, is only liable for what he/she can "see", as for legal recourse that depends on your state. Here in cali you can take anyone to court for anything it seems and walk away with their next 4 generations of children. I don't think you got termites between the day you moved in and now, but some inspectors will not even look at other buildings attached or not to your home (i.e. pool, deck, storage shed, etc.). Most inspectors charge a set price per x sq ft. It's a little more for other buildings. That's why it's best to be there when the inspector does the inspection to see what he does and what he does not do. Knowing as much as I do about construction (not a whole lot, but enough to get myself in trouble) I will not let any of my friends buy a home without an inspection. I've seen so many huge problems just on the 8 to 10 inspections I went on with my father that once he pointed them out were very obvious but I would probably have not noticed. As to termites, you'll be hard pressed to get an inspector to write the words termite damage on a report for fear of legal problems, but what a good inspector will do is write in "recommend termite inspection" and they will generally tell you they noted "possible" termite damage. We live in a world where you can be hung out to dry for giving too much info.

You said the wood was "from the deck" but "under the deck". Does this mean that the wood was removed from the deck and has been repaced? Your inspector probably checked the top side, but didn't even look under the deck, let alone at some wood on the ground under it.

If you have no termite damage to your home and you got away with just 1 exterminator call you're lucky.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: