When The Real Estate Agent Hides Termite Damage
Two recent termite damage cases involving real estate agents showed that some agents completely fail to comply with their professional standards involving disclosure of material facts.
Whitney, LLP was contacted by a family who had purchased a house in Baltimore County. The house was sold subject to the Disclaimer Form, which meant the seller had to disclose latent defects. None were disclosed on the form, and our clients bought the house in November 2018.
Whitney, LLP provides free termite damage legal consultations.
When Termite Swarmers Appear in the New Home
In April 2019, as the weather began to warm, our clients began to wake up in the morning and see little insects all over their house. There were insects flying around, and also dead insects all over the floor. They did some research, and quickly realized the insects were termite swarmers. They saw thousands of these insects. What do termite swarmers in a house mean? It means termite damage, and the more swarmers there are, the more damaged wood is likely to be found hidden in the house.
When there are thousands of termite swarmers in a house, that means there is a serious termite infestation in the house. What that means is there is serious termite damage to the house, which can include to the structural supports, roof, drywall, windows, doors, floors, and everywhere else that is wood.
Our clients were extremely surprised and contacted the seller of the house. It had been advertised as a “total rehab” as being in great shape.
House Flipping and Hidden Termite Damage
The seller of the house was also a local Maryland real estate agent who had purchased the house himself, had some renovation work done, and flipped it to our clients. The termite damage lawyers at Whitney, LLP have seen many cases where house flippers hide termite damage and termite infestation, and that is exactly what appears to have happened here. A dishonest house flipper, of which there are many, has no incentive to fix termite damage, and every incentive to hide it in order to avoid performing expensive repairs.
At first the seller denied any termite damage. Eventually, he revealed that he had ordered a secret WDI (Wood Destroying Insect) Inspection that was performed while the house was under contract with our clients. Shockingly, the WDI revealed “active termite infestation.” Instead of disclosing that obviously important fact to our buyer, which he was required to do as a real estate agent, he did not disclose it.
Of course, like most home buyers, once a house is known to have an active infestation, our clients would have walked away. Instead, due to the deception, they unknowingly purchased what they would soon learn was a huge problem.
When Termite Damage Is Found In a New House
Many home buyers are extremely upset when they discover termite damage in their new home. Many do not realize that they have significant legal rights that will allow them to recover not only the cost of repairs, but also compensation for emotional distress and other losses.
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Whitney, LLP has handled multiple termite cases across Maryland, and has multiple ongoing termite cases, including in Annapolis, Glen Burnie, Salisbury, Tyaskin, Hagerstown, Middle River, Rosedale, and Pikesville in a variety of scenarios involving negligent and fraudulent WDI and termite inspection companies, and dishonest house flippers, real estate agents, sellers and home inspectors.