A condominium association in Wellington, Florida recently had a court spat with the termite control company providing prevention and treatment services for it. The company, Orkin Inc., was sued by the association for having failed in its responsibilities of stemming termites and of reapplying the obligatory treatments for the condominiums. On the 11th of this October, the jury came to a decision on the case, finding for the plaintiffs, the Sheffield Woods at Wellington Condominium Association.

Termite control firms like Orkin are regularly called in by associations like that of Sheffield Woods. When the termite treatment required is for a building like a condominium or apartment block, what generally happens is that a contract is drawn up between the two parties arranging for the termite control company to come in regularly and apply treatments as needed.

Termite prevention treatments—the chemical-dependent, poison-based ones, at least—are not permanent. Indeed, they would not be allowed for use were they permanent, because that would mean they would be permanently damaging elements in what is basically a residential ecosystem. If the poisons introduced for pest control to such ecosystems never degrade, myriad health problems may arise as a result. In effect, a permanent termiticide (termite-killing chemical) would be nothing short of prohibited biological warfare as defined by countless national and international governing entities.

Hence, plans have to be put in place for buildings to be retreated once the previous application of termite control chemical begins to degrade. This is actually where Orkin Inc. fell afoul of the Sheffield Woods Association. The company apparently failed to treat the concerned buildings on the appropriate years, thus leading to a gap in termite prevention measures that were only resumed last year.

The missed years of treatment were 1997-1998. This shows a significant gap in the protections for the buildings, a gap of time that could easily have seen termites moving into the area and infesting the structures.

As it turns out, the buildings did indeed suffer termite problems. Various damages were found during an inspection and cited by the Sheffield Woods at Wellington Association’s side during the hearing in court. According to the plaintiffs, the fault for these damages lies with Orkin Inc. for having failed to observe the terms of its contract, which designated it as the body responsible for termite prevention for the buildings. Orkin’s failure to see to the necessary termite treatments at the proper time made for a crucial weakness in the buildings’ defences, according to the plaintiffs.

The association is currently working on having the damaged condominiums repaired. Portions of the wooden framing of the buildings have apparently been chewed out by the pests, so residents of the structures may need to move out while repairs take place. New termite control arrangements shall have to be drawn up too, of course.

Written by Alan Ferguson

Alan Ferguson

Hello! My name is Alan Ferguson and I am an expert on the elimination of termites. He graduated in Harvard Business School, and now I care about people whose homes are attacked by pests.